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Here's the Good Word

Nov. 25, 2011

Gameday Central

By Matt Winkeljohn
Sting Daily

Today’s a great day to debate whether the word “hate” fits or not, and rather than waste space with my opinion and wrench the creative process at the same time, we’re going straight to the phone lines where Gladys A. Strickland, grandmother of six, waits with two cents.

I asked, you answered, and Gladys delivered most emphatically. Cue grandma:

“I hate UGA, UGA fans (not all but most), the color red, red mixed with black, driving in and around Athens, and their fake Bulldog mascot (love all real dogs).

The reason I hate UGA is that they think they are better than all other teams, especially GT. I have a daughter who (unfortunately) moved with her family to Statham (near Athens). While shopping in or near Athens, we have had the air deflated in our tires, nasty notes left on our windshield and a quarter-size beer bottle placed neatly under our rear tire at the Toys R Us store in Athens (while we had 3 of my grandchildren making their shopping lists).

Fortunately I spotted the bottle before we backed over it. We have a GT tag on our car which people in Athens do not want to see. Trying to be nice, we never wear our GT t-shirts while in Athens, but this year we have just tried to stay away. We have had UGA fans bark in our faces at a basketball game and hit in the head with a plastic cup at a football game. . . . I know all schools have some rowdy fans, but UGA seems to have the most and the most rude.

I love GT, most GT fans, the color Gold, and Buzz, our beloved mascot.

I used to live in the Home Park area, my ex-husband (father of my children) was smart enough to get into GT (but not smart enough to stay in GT), and my sister and I have had season tickets to GT football games for many years. We go to all home games, try to attend at least one away game, and try to attend Bowl games that are within driving distance.

So, there’s that. You don’t put beer bottles under Grandma’s tires and live without besmirchment of your brand.

Truthfully, reader responses to the Sting Daily’s Friday questions about the Tech-Georgia rivalry were light, but that’s to have been predicted.

Heck, it was Black Friday, a lot of folks surely stayed away from their computers and didn’t get a chance to read the SD before publication of today’s SD, and – this really hurt – we had to go back to press before our readers in Asia and similar time zones were probably even awake.

Those readers are legion. Tech fans on the Pacific Rim are fiercely passionate.

Back here in the ATL, Sherman Banks has fond memories of his time at Tech in the early 1980s, and he remembers some fans chucking biscuits at Herschel Walker in Bobby Dodd Stadium in ’82.

Please, don’t do anything that dumb today.

Anyway, it wasn’t fun being on the wrong end of the Herschel years as UGA outscored the Yellow Jackets by 75 points from 1980-’82.

And then, despite being 3-7 entering the ’83 game (when Walker had left for the USFL), the Jackets felt they had a shot at 9-1-1 Georgia in Atlanta, and they did.

Alas, having just completed their first season in the ACC the Jackets fell 27-24, which made Tech’s ’84 visit to Athens sweeter still.

Here’s Sherman, who said his favorite Tech memory is:

The 35-18 win at UGA in 1984. [Coach] Bill Curry had removed the GT from the helmets, but the team (which would finish 6-4-1) for most of the season because they didn’t deserve to wear it, but the team asked to have them put back on for this game.

The first play had the whole defense swarming all over the UGA running back. You knew they were up for the game. I think it was Channel 2 that had rights to show the game but was under contract (or something) to show another game that day.

Under a lot of complaints they ended up showing the Tech game but they said if it was a blow out they would change to the other game. They did quit the broadcast around the end of the third or beginning of the fourth quarter with Tech way up. I had to listen to the rest of the game on the radio.

Note that there is no vouching here for the accuracy of Sherman’s recollections, other than the score. Again, without researching specifics, here’s what Jack Carswell (BS Physics ’66, MS NE ’67) pitched in from Augusta:

Obviously, Roddy’s run in 2008 comes to mind, but also Gary Lee’s 100-yard return out of the fog in 1985. That one was INCREDIBLE, and I have watched it again a couple of times this week online. I also remember with an enormous sense of pride seeing Bill Curry leaving the field in Athens with an arm wrapped around John Dewberry, who had a piece of the hedge between his teeth; that was in 1984.

On a negative note, I also remember the UGA players gathering around, jumping up and down, and pointing at the downed Eddie Lee Ivery after the brutal hit that took him out of the 1978 game in Athens. I don’t think I have ever hated the dawgs as much as at that moment; it was a display of a TOTAL LACK OF CLASS!!!!

On more personal notes, I will ALWAYS remember the 1969 game in Atlanta, which Tech won 6-0, to end a five-year drought. It wasn’t the win per se that brings back the memories. It was because I took my mom to the game with me (the only game I ever took her to), and she was as excited as I was.

Also in 1974, I took my dad with me to Athens and endured the MISERABLY COLD, WINDY RAIN to watch Tech demolish the mutts 34-14 without ever completing a pass (only one was even attempted, if I remember right).

At halftime, with the game already settled, and the UGA fans leaving en masse, I suggested to my dad that we leave also because of the weather. He wouldn’t have any of it; he said he was enjoying it too much to leave. That was the closest I ever felt to my dad, and the proudest I ever was to call him my dad.

That’s going to wrap it up here.

Please show class today in all that you do (and don’t), including Wes Durham’s tribute to Larry Munson , the honoring of astronauts produced by Tech, the honoring of former Jacket Hal Miller (who co-captained the Jackets’ 1952 national championship team), and recognition to be given Jackets chaplain Derrick Moore.

Calvin Johnson’s making the trip from Detroit to participate in that.

A big day looms. Behave.


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