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Life Lessons Learned From Georgia Tech-Georgia Rivalry

Nov. 22, 2010

By Matt Winkeljohn
Sting Daily

I’m not sure at what point you choose companionship over competition, but this first guy made the wrong call.

We’ve received some high-quality fan/reader input on the Georgia Tech-Georgia series, but this one is at one point kind of tough to stomach. Can’t believe this young man chose a young woman over going to watch Tech-Georgia last year.

That’s not chivalry; that’s plum crazy (even if it didn’t qualify as nuts until their relationship soured). Send more tales to We’ll run several, maybe all of them.

This is well written. A language arts teacher would be proud. But still, Daniel, what were you thinking?

After a light edit, here we go:

I may not be an experienced veteran when it comes to this rivalry, having stories to tell from only the last two, but I feel like my stories should be satisfying enough to the average fan. I have lived in Georgia for most of my life, and I have two older sisters that decided to go to college in-state as I grew up.

Of course, my oldest sister went to U(sic)GA, and the other went to and is still pursuing a masters degree at Tech. Being the only son, I was caught right in the middle of this mess. Every year, the U(sic)GA-GT game was a expletive-filled day of someone getting upset over their team coming up short.

As I grew up, I was a U(sic)GA fan. I know, I was wrong, and as you may have noticed with how I write their name, you can tell which side I chose. Anyways, as a U(sic)GA fan, there was a lot to cheer about when this game came around. But as the years went by, and I started to consider where I was going to attend college, I started to watch the game as a neutral bystander.

The game became bittersweet for me, and it all led up to my senior year of high school. I applied to two colleges, Georgia and Georgia Tech. I was accepted into both, but still wasn’t sure what my major was going to be, so I wasn’t sure which one to choose.

Being a die-hard football fan, I said to my parents in a joking fashion, “Whoever wins the Tech-Georgia game this year will decide where I go to school.”

They laughed, but deep down I may have been serious. I don’t know for sure to this day.

While watching the game, in 2008, U(sic)GA was killing Tech in the first half. It was starting to look bad for Tech fans, and my parents and one sister started making jokes about me going to Georgia.

The other sister, well, she was on a laptop somewhere so as not to have to hear the taunting.

As we all know, Tech finally turned on the juice, and the running game lead by Nesbitt, Dwyer, and Jones (a hometown legend of mine), brought Tech back into the game.

I was still an innocent bystander up until the fourth quarter, and with Tech leading by three, something changed for me.

I don’t know if it was all the jokes that had become quiet, or maybe the underdog comeback story mounting, but as I saw Roddy take a pitch from Nesbitt and break two U(sic)GA tackles and give Tech a 10-point lead, I was jumping and cheering like I was a long time Tech fan that had finally been converted to good from evil.

After all, Tech’s colors are the same ones used to depict heaven, while U(sic)GA may have the colors of the opposite place. After that game my dad said to me, “Well it looks like you’re going to Tech!” I waited a week, and then made my commitment to Tech to attend the next fall.

After a year of being a Tech fan, the 2009 game was finally here, and I had my ticket to go see my first U(sic)GA-Tech game in person! I was so pumped up for this day! It had been a long semester, and as anyone from Tech can tell you, the first semester is almost always a rough one. But this was the day that was going to be the best all year!

I was going to tailgate with my friends all day, and have a nice dinner, then go to the game and watch Tech win!

Well . . . that was the plan.

It turned out that this girl I was seeing, who was going to school out of town, could only visit me on this one day of Thanksgiving break. I was happy to see her and everything, but this just made my day a little bit more complicated than I planned. I tried everything to get her a ticket to the game, but being a poor college student; it just wasn’t gonna happen without having to shell out some major cash.

We all had fun tailgating, taking pictures with the Wreck, throwing the football and just having a good time. The trash talking was well underway, and with Georgia’s awful season, we were having a field day. After we were coming back to dinner, I was hoping to find a scalper with just one ticket so I could get my girlfriend into the game with me.

Fate rejected my futile attempt, and I was left with a decision.

Literally on the corner of Techwood Drive and North Ave., I had to make one of the hardest decisions of my life to that point. Was I going to the game and most likely break up with this girl, or was I going to miss the game and hope that our relationship would last and we could laugh about this moment in the future?

Well, being a nice guy, I chose her, and missed the narrow defeat at the hands of the mutts. I was sad that we lost, but more sad that I wasn’t there to try and help our Jackets to a victory.

Long story short, that girl and I had a rough relationship that ended this past September. In hindsight, it appears I chose the wrong option that night.

Lesson learned.

After a year of regret, I have my ticket for this year’s game. This time, I will not miss it for anything! Go Jackets! To Hell with Georgia!

Daniel Keslensky
Sophomore, Georgia Institute of Technology
Chemical and Bio-molecular Engineering


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