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Remembering The Tarp Incident

Nov. 25, 2010

By Matt Winkeljohn
Sting Daily

Happy Thanksgiving!

I should have known the other day when I suggested that I could not find video evidence of the Georgia Tech “tarp” in Athens in the 1992 Tech-Georgia game that it would be a matter of time before somebody else did find it.

Tomorrow, I’ll have a story that will approximate normal as the holiday draws to a close, as the game is one day away.

First, nine people – John Kish, 2009 Ga. Tech Sax Mom, Chris Golden, David Walker, Ira Kaplan, Jon Clark, Don Duval, Todd Wright and Chris Blosser – actually sent in a link in; you can check it here.

Better yet, Eric House brought inside intel. Here it is:

I can give a little more history on “the tarp.” I was in the band at the time. We created the tarp up at the Kickoff Classic. It was a piece of indoor-outdoor green carpet purchased at a local hardware store.

We pulled it on the field at halftime and the band announcer declared, “Georgia Tech claims home-field advantage for the second half!” After that trip, the tarp was rolled up and stuck on a shelf in the storeroom at the music department.

A few years later, probably fall `92, but I don’t remember exactly, we were cleaning out that storeroom and found the tarp. We said, “We should do something cool with this. Hey, we should pull it out at the UGA game!” So, in November, we snuck it on the bus headed to Athens and made plans for the drum majors to pull it onto the field as they went out for their salute.

We sort of forgot to mention this to Bucky Johnson, the band director. However, he saw the guys carrying it off the bus in Athens and asked what was up. They ‘fessed up, and he gave his permission.

Well, when the UGA fans saw that tarp, they started booing. We had expected it, and expected it would die down after a few minutes. It didn’t. It grew in intensity the whole time we were playing.

That year we were playing a classical music show that ended with the 1812 Overture. It has one of the loudest endings of any song in my 5+ years with the band. I marched the french horn spot right next to the trumpet line, and I couldn’t hear the trumpet right next to me. No one could hear each other. We couldn’t hear the drum line to keep a beat.

The drums gave up and started playing the fight song so they could stay on the same beat.

The event got lots of attention at the time. (Former Atlanta Journal columnist) Lewis Grizzard wrote about it in his column. Supposedly the Tech President’s phone line lit up all the following week. He also supposedly called Bucky and told him it was a good prank.

Ahh, the fun of college days . . .

— Eric House


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