Friday, October 15, 2010

Homecoming

Each year at homecoming, I generally get a bit nostalgic.  Below is a posting I wrote a couple of years ago (with modification).  Sorry that I am retreading it, but as I tried to write something new, I realized it wasn't as good as what I wrote then.

"I made a commitment to myself that I wouldn’t be too sentimental and try to keep this blog light, focused on sports and life in exile, since I typically hate to read blogs that are obvious attempts to avoid real therapy. I apologize for the nostalgia.

Twenty three four years ago, I walked onto campus at UGA as a freshman. The world was my oyster. Being from outside a small town in SE Georgia with a smaller population than my dorm (Russell Hall), I was in the Big Time. That is how you think at 18.

I learned plenty in Athens. I learned who to trust and who not to. I learned who are my friends and who is using me. I learned who to use. I learned that when you are hurting, a walk on campus, in front of Phi Kappa Hall, with leaves starting to fall during the first cool snap of October or when the grass is getting green in March, is salve to the soul. I learned that getting hurt by someone you thought you loved isn’t that difficult to take if the Dawgs are playing well and is incredibly difficult if they are on the way to 4-7. I learned that college basketball is as fun in person as college football. I learned that youth doesn’t protect you from death. I learned sports do mean that much to me. I learned I was not alone in that.

Homecoming was always my favorite game week as a student. Sure, I loved going to Jacksonville for Georgia/Florida. I thought the atmosphere at Knoxville was incredible. I even had a great time getting wet in Jordan-Hare. Getting kicked out of Tiger Town in Clemson was fun. Having a huge night game on campus was a thrill. But I always looked forward to homecoming. There was something extra special about the alumni that came back for homecoming. I had something tangible to look forward to. They were who I was going to be.

That was two UGA degrees, a head of hair, two wives, two careers and 40 50 pounds ago. I know who my friends are. I trust college football fans, especially if they are SEC fans, more than I should. I am luckier than I have every right to be with the current Mrs. Bulldog in Exile. I cannot trust people that don’t drink at least a little, unless they are preachers, reformed alcoholics or my momma. Having my toddlers ask when we are going home to Georgia is music to my ears. Hearing my children sing “Glory, Glory” while they play absentmindedly is the coolest thing ever. Having my best friend play Ray Charles’ version of “Georgia on my Mind” on my voice mail still makes me cry in a manly way. Walking across campus with leaves starting to fall during the first cool snap of October is still salve to the soul.

Good luck and Godspeed, Dawg fans. Remember, the current residents of campus are looking up to you.

Go Dawgs!"

2 comments:

  1. This will be my first year as an alumni and I hope I can look back in 20 years and remember why Athens is such a special place.

    Athens really is the perfect storm of history, modernity, class, charm, freedom, boundaries, and the best looking women on God's green earth.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Dude. That post must have had a little dust on it, 'cause I think I got a little something in my eye.

    I compare the UGA campus to the sound of my mother's voice, and anyone who knows me understands that nothing in the world could be more comforting. I can't wait to get there tomorrow.

    Ryan, I promise I'm not an ass (well, not much), but certain people (like me) will be struck more positively if you use the correct "an alumnus". We are alumni. I'm an alumnus. But let me follow up by saying that your comments are spot-on. And trust me: you will always remember why Athens is such a special place. My parents do, and I do. Everyone does. Even those who weren't lucky enough to go to school there understand it's special.

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