Monday, September 19, 2011

Gameday in Athens

Friday morning I arrived at work and discovered Matthew’s Saturday game had been cancelled. Later in the morning there was a raffle for both Tech and UGA tickets. I won the Tech tickets. I’ve never seen Kansas play, but I go to at least one Tech game almost ever year. The last time I went to a UGA game was 27 years ago, so I jumped at the chance to trade for those tickets. I thought Anna and Matthew would enjoy the experience.

That evening Anna and I drove up 75 to pick up Thomas near Cartersville.

Since I’d heard many horror stories about game day traffic, Saturday we got an early start. After leaving the house at 7:55 we made great time, catching almost all the green lights on 316 east. Drove around Athens a bit, and then parked on the street running behind the Varsity. We meandered downtown, took pictures of the kids under the arch, and then strolled through the campus to the bookstore and student center. Walked around a little bit more, and then ate at the student center Chickfila before the crowds got too big.

As we were finishing our meal I overheard a Redcoat Band member tell her parents she had to go to the Dawg Walk. Not knowing where it was, we discretely followed her (it was just on the other side of the student center, ending at Sanford Stadium, under the bridge). An entertaining way to pass thirty minutes, first watching the band members line up and play, then see the cheerleaders and team walk through. Interestingly, Mark Richt and the assistant coaches were nowhere to be seen. My young walk-on friend Robert Davis did not dress out for the game, so he wasn’t in the Dawg Walk either.

Friday Anna had texted her friend Charissa to tell her she’d be at the game, and Saturday morning they swapped texts on where to meet. Before entering the stadium we met she and Haley on the bridge, and I snapped their picture. It was 4H day at Georgia, and Thomas saw two different people he knew. I saw a dad from Anna’s theater company. Matthew saw baseball buddy Stephen. We found our seats and watched pregame warm-ups. Our club level seats were right where cold air tunneled through from the backside of the stadium.

Georgia scored every time they had the ball in the first half, and then kicked a 56 yard field goal on the opening drive of the second half. Freshman running back Isaiah Crowell scored first and looked good. He needs to get more carries as the games get more important. QB Aaron Murray’s throws were erratic. This could be a difference-maker in tight games, and not in a good way. Blair Walsh missed a field goal, drawing scorn from many fans. All-American punter Drew Butler didn’t appear until midway through the third quarter.

We moved downstairs for the fourth quarter, both to get a closer look and warm up in the sun. Fans were parading out just below us, stopping to pose for pictures with the hedges. Georgia threatened, but ran out the clock instead of running up the score.

We meandered back to the Varsity, and filled up on Frosted Oranges. Saw former state senator Preston Smith, who I used to teach in Sunday School at SPdL. Traffic wasn’t bad until we hit the 316 lights in Lawrenceville, where it’s backed up every day. The kids finally dozed off, and I listened to the exciting Braves game. I knew to avoid the 285 construction, but Saturday evening traffic was bad on Pleasant Hill as well. Got home at 6:45.

It was a football night as well. Watched Oklahoma/FSU and Ohio State/ Miami as well.

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