Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Gone too Long & Almost There

As I was doing some blog maintainence today I discovered I had some messages in my spam folder.
As expected it was the usual cadre of religious postings; sexual stamina enhancements and pharmaceutical solutions.  But also lost in the shuffle was a comment that was not spam, that should have been posted to my
"getting way too ahead of ourselves department"  post back in October.
At the end of the post I speculated that I believed we would lose 2 more games this year and NOT appear in the SEC championship. In part I thought that this would be ok if only so that the smurfs out here couldn't claim to be the best team in the SEC east.  Thankfully I appeared to be wrong in this miscalculation (it surely isnt the first time nor will it be the last!) However this post that went to spam was left by a reader who thought I should keep such thoughts to myself:
I think if you want to be a non-believer and present this blog as some sort of objective, reality check then you need to keep your thoughts to yourself. You are a UGA blogger, dude. You are supposed to be biased. Supportive and optimistic, too. The fact that you predict two more losses this season makes me want to vomit. You have no intention of giving these guys the benefit of the doubt, do you? You are convinced the offensive line or offense in general will not improve and that a steadily improving defense won't be strong enough to stop the teams we have yet to face...is that about right? You should stay in Idaho. Better yet, why don't you look for work in the Gainesville, Florida area when you return. We wouldn't want anyone to call you a HOMER, now would we?By DawgZilla on From the "Getting Way Too Ahead of Ourselves" Depa... on 10/11/11
Listen, I've never proclaimed to be anything other than a fan who was moved away from home with a chip on his shoulder.  I certainly do not pretend to be a trained professional or unbiased sports expert nor do I aspire to be one.  Yes, the last few years of mediocrity have tempered my expectations. In the confines of my friends and family I often I expect the worst verbally, but hope for the best quietly. One moment I'm blindly optimistic about our team, and the sky could be falling the next.  This is not a luxury I have around these parts with a fanbase of delusional johnny come latelys. To the outsider I am the puffer fish. Confident, sure, more certain of victory than the setting of the sun. I take to this blog to join in with fellow fans with whom I can admit my oft buried uncertainty.  As a fanbase I'd say we all have had a little Larry Munson rub off on our outlook; our expectations colored by his pessimism.  High one moment, down the next. (Just as our play at times this season and in seasons past.)  My wife is a graduate of Notre Dame and she told me she'd never seen a bunch of fans so hell bent on self flagellation.  Isn't this dual personality part of who we are as fans?  I mean one of my favorite ongoing pieces is written by Doug Gillette, whose Manic Doug and Depressive Doug so perfectly capture the inner turmoil that so many of us feel at any particular moment. His Manic and Depressive pregame analysis of each game pits his two sides against one another. An internal dialogue played out for our enjoyment that I relate to so much. Most of us can list every reason we might lose a game just as we are finishing giving you every reason why we will win a game, and it has nothing to do being ashamed of who we are.   Today Bernie offers his reasons why we will win this weekend agaisnt Auburn, but immediately mentions that today's post will   .."of course will be balanced by a post tomorrow outlining reasons why I'm nervous as hell".  
As a fan I agree with everything Bernie writes, just as I'm sure I'll agree with all the reasons why he's nervous tomorrow.  Such is life as a dawgfan.

So, Dawgzilla to issue a long overdue response to your comment, I did some soul searching. I asked myself some questions.. Have I lost myself to this place? Have I forgotten what it means to be a true fan?  Should I consider looking at real estate in Gainesville? Finally, have I been out here too long?... Hell yes I've been out here too long. I was here too long the day I crossed the state line into Alabama on the drive out here. But I don't think being cautious and predicting two losses for the rest of the season means I'm ashamed of what I am. I'm a guy who on a DAILY basis defends the Dawgs.  I am a fan who finds himself getting berated by students, grandparents, and hippes at a bar for wearing my Georgia gear. A guy who for 5 freaking miserable years has had to represent my team, conference and way of life to a bunch of people who still insist that Kellen Moore totally deserves the Heisman and that a Seagram's 7&7 is superior to my Jack Daniels with a splash of water. I've had to watch as my daughter and son grow up around kids who know NOTHING but blue and orange.  I own an embarrassing amount of UGA merchandise, even had my boat wrapped in a 15foot Georgia G. I'm a guy who has held on to a passion for the Dawgs despite there being virtually zero fellow fans to commiserate with out here.  I've flown over 100,000 miles coming back to Athens for games in the last 5 years. I'm a guy who, despite it being a 2100 mile trip to Sanford stadium from my front door still shows up on campus at 7am to tailgate as I did when I lived only 60 miles away. So why would someone like me whose been fortunate enough to inherit a fantastic HOMER BLOG be ashamed of being a homer?
Dawgzilla to answer you respectfully;  To me, predicting losses and being a true fan are not mutually exclusive. I can support and critique. I can be illogically blind to the facts and I yet I'll quote the ones that support my mood. I'm a fan, nothing more, certainly nothing less.
If I'm wrong on this, then I truly have been gone too long.  As for your relocation suggestion, sadly from my perspective Gainesville would be a step up.

Now having said all that, damn I am excited about what these young dawgs have become.  We are almost there.  A 63-16 beatdown will cure what ails you. A definite improvement over our last overmatched opponent .  Aggressive play calling by Bobo and Richt; ( going for 6 in the closing seconds of the 2nd quarter was the most Un-Richt like thing I can remember seeing in quite some time) Clearing the bench again; scoring 42 points in ONE QUARTER and doing it all without Mitchell and Crowell...well damn, that's a success anyway you look at it even if it was just NMSU.

Nothing to complain about there (SEE DAWGZILLA I LOVE MY DAWGS, NOT ONE BAD WORD!).
And while I've not been thrilled with how close we've kept the previous 5 SEC games, the score at the end of each one got us the W and so here we are actually talking about....(gawd, I hope I don't jinx it...gulp...) the SEC championship. 4 games to go, perhaps 5 and  we sit here at 7-2 on the cusp of taking another step back to relevance.  It's been a business like approach all year. One game at a time. Get on the Bus. Some will point to the soft schedule with a "yeah but" , but why would we feel bad about benefiting from that when we've certainly been hurt by the strength of that schedule in seasons past.   The soft schedule be damned, The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Each of our SEC victories may have an asterisk, something we could have done better or a team we should have beaten more soundly, but Richt doubters can not be disappointed with the cumulative record or this TEAM. You don't think there were astrisks on LSU's 2 loss national championship season?  Our Defense has become a who's who of play-makers with real depth.  UGA is ranked #3 in the nation in 3rd down D and yet our projected starters have not yet played an entire game together meaning there is actually room for improvement. Offensively we are topping our 2010 efforts in PPG and YPG with No AJ Green and a true freshman at RB.  That no huddle thingy that I poked fun at in the opener, is actually, you know... sort of working... Young guys are making a real difference who were playing high school ball just last year.  We're young, we've been challenged, and despite suspensions, injuries and special teams, this team is 7-2.  It's beginning to feel a lot like the good ole days with Greene and Pollack where we found ways to win the games we were not supposed to, and torched those teams we should have.

Now our destiny is in our own hands. We don't need to pull for the stinking Gators this Saturday. We just need to win. This team will beat Auburn this weekend. 13 points seems high to me, but the outcome seems destined. We've been gone from the spotlight for too long folks. This will be the game that will announce our return.  We're almost there.  Just win baby!

See you in Athens..

1 comment:

  1. Be strong brother. We all have been in the dark place and all want the light to show upon us.

    As long as you are willing to admit when you are wrong, you'll do fine. Actually, being wrong is a great thing (in this situation), if you think about it.