The National Championship. Not just any football game. Unless you are part of some sort of sports dynasty, as a player this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. A chance to take home all the marbles. Pride, glory, fame, satisfaction and bragging rights.
For the fans it may be a rare opportunity, but not necessarily once in a lifetime. If you are over the age of seventy-five, you have been alive during a time when the University of Georgia won two National Football Championships. Thirty eight years apart. And thirty eight years ago. This year had to be the time for another.
And so they played all season. To a spot in the big game. They would paly the University of Alabama. A reigning dynastic champ, but a team which didn’t win their conference title. How did they get in to this game?
Tens of thousands crammed into the stadium to watch their heroes on the playing field. All had paid dearly to obtain a ticket to this game, but it was, after all, the BIGGEST game of all. And worth every penny to them.
The pomp and ceremony came and went, and the focus turned to the young men on the gridiron. During the regular season fans are treated, every weekend, to a stirring history lesson at the UGA stadium. Legendary Larry Munson describes the team as heroes and so much more. I’ll agree that they do play with heart. And so they did this night.
It looked like a runaway game. Georgia led at the half. Bigly. (I couldn’t resist!) All the stars were aligned. This was the year. And then the unimaginable happened. The Alabama quarterback, hailed as a superstar, was benched. And a freshman quarterback took his place. And came from behind to win the game. In overtime. Hell of a game.
Some win. Some come in second. All played hard. Joy and disappointment for players and fans. But as they say, there is always next year.
I didn’t go to this game. And only watched part of it on TV. Football isn’t really my thing. But this was the big game and I live in Georgia. Not just Georgia, but Athens, Georgia – home of the University of Georgia and the Georgia Bulldogs. I couldn’t ignore it.
For me the game is an opportunity to watch people. The team themed clothing they wear, their flags waved in support of their heroes. The tailgates and revelry. Inside the stadium it’s crowded and loud. And the season tickets I get are so high that I can barely see the twenty two ants scrambling around on the field. Thank goodness for the jumbotron.
For Alabama, other national championship. For Georgia, an improbable season and a fight to the finish. Go Dawgs! There is always next year.
That’s part of my story. What’s yours?