One thing we all have for our teams in the South is passion. We’re passionate when we win, we’re passionate when we lose, and we’re passionate when schools we hate do the same.
It isn’t rare for a loss, big or small, to ruin a mood, and sometimes the whole night or even weekend. Yes, it may sound silly, but you try finding a giddy Georgia fan on a Saturday night after the Braves lose a spot in the playoffs and the Dawgs get pounded by Steve Spurrier.
And that’s just what happened during the Dawgs miserable last game (or wonderful, if you’re a Cards or Cocks fan) weekend of sports.
I was at Jake’s cousin’s house that Saturday night, who cheers for Alabama with her husband, along with his uncle who kept reminding us he was cheering for N.C. State and South Carolina because he doesn’t care for any teams, really, so he cheers for the underdog, and Jake’s sister who went to Florida State but has since grown a bit out of her fandom. They were busy cooking and chatting while I was in one room, watching Aaron Murray flop like a flounder on the field and South Carolina’s defense act like they took beast mode pills before the game, and Jake in the other, confident his ‘Noles would pull out what should have been an easy win against N.C. State until the final seconds stole the No. 3-spot glory from the FSU nation.
Top that with a huge Braves loss complete with beer bottles on the field and four errors by Atlanta the night before, and let’s just say, it was a quiet ride home to Smyrna.
I was disappointed. There may have been some shouting and cursing during the Georgia-South Carolina game that caused the house Yorkie to growl at me. My head met my hands at least 94 times in misery. We lost. And we were just plain bad. Our football team was starting to look like we were confused pee wee boys playing the local high school team. It was shocking and depressing, to say the least.
But I still went home that night a Georgia fan. I still drank a glass of water out of one of my several Georgia cups before going to bed. I still wore my Georgia pajamas to bed. I was still hopeful for the rest of the season and trying to figure out if I could make another home game this year. I was still proud to call myself a Georgia fan and graduate. And the vast majority of Georgia fans were too.
If you want to lose faith in some of your fellow fans, however, it only takes a quick read through your Facebook or Twitter feed. We were ranked No.5 playing a team ranked No. 6 that is now ranked No. 3. We were undefeated leading up to that game. Our players and coaches gave us every reason to cheer for them leading up to Saturday, but whether they won or lost, my love for Georgia would have given me every reason to cheer for them anyway.
“Mark Richt needs to go!” “Gene Chizik is an embarrassment to Auburn!” “Let’s egg Aaron Murray’s house!”
This coming not from the teams’ enemies, but from their own fans. Seriously? SERIOUSLY??? These people may call themselves fans, but they aren’t true fans by any means. THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE YOUR TEAM. And it isn’t just a handful of Dawg fans who have been dawging their own teams. Plenty of other Southern college football fans have done the same, which to me, is inexcusable and immature. A team is like your family. They can drive you nuts sometimes, but you’ll always stick up for them and cheer them on through the good and the bad. Bad mouth your own family? Why? Not only is that just plain stupid, it’s embarrassing. Yes, the Bulldog nation is ready for us to stay on top, win those big games and finally get another national championship under our belts. But we were SEC East Champs just last year – something South Carolina would have even loved to have been – and we have a talented team and talented coaching staff that made some awful mistakes on Saturday.
Trying being a Georgia Tech fan right now, or a Virginia Tech fan, or even an Auburn or Arkansas fan. These teams have suffered embarrassing losses in copious amounts as of late and also have many of those same, so-called “fans.” Heck, I don’t care who you are, you can’t say that all people who call themselves fans of your team are true fans. I assure you there are far more “big Alabama fans” now than there were when the school was on probation. But we have no reason to say that our teams and coaches are wasting away and twiddling their thumbs because they just don’t care. They do. But they aren’t perfect, and we aren’t perfect in our own lives. Ever made a mistake at work? Of course you have. You think you can call plays over 90,000 drunk, screaming fans while millions at home watch better than they can? No. You can’t. Twenty-six years of being the coach’s daughter taught me bleacher coaches are the dumbest and the worst, no matter how smart they think they really are.
Stay passionate, Southerners, but stay true. Don’t let your disappointment get in the way of your loyalty. True fans are just as proud to claim their teams when they win as when they lose. I don’t cheer for the Dawgs because they win. I cheer because I’m a Dawg and I know what that means in my heart and in my memories. You can have your opinions – every Southerner does – but please try defending your team when needed, not giving an offense to your enemies.