Well, it finally happened. Georgia was able to lasso the National Championship in football after so many almost years. I graduated from Auburn and am a lifetime Auburn fan, so I know a little about waiting to win another national title. We took 53 years to win a second one. Georgia only took 42. The way Auburn is going, it will probably be at least another 53 years.

People asked me, Who did you root for? Obviously Auburn hates Alabama. Alabama could play a team coached by Jeffery Epstein, and its top player be Charles Manson, and I’d struggle on who to root for. Georgia has whipped us the last decade like we were caught stealing from the offering plate at church. I live among the rabid and the obnoxious, which in Dawg terms are interchangeable adjectives. I felt like my two worst enemies each just won the lottery and were throwing a big party. I had to go and make like I was happy for somebody because they won.

In truth there were some for whom I felt a tinge of happiness for their victory. My long-suffering, lifetime Dawg ticket-holding, 87-year-old father saw them win it all in 1980, as did I, and now again finally it is his for at least a year. I caution; these things are fleeting and can be gone in the blink of eye. Just ask LSU. After Auburn won it all in 2010. I said I didn’t care if we never won another game. I had my title. God, if you are still listening to me about college football, I promise I didn’t mean it. Please don’t let us become Vanderbilt.

I think of long-time friend Reggie Hartin, who used to roam around with the greatest writer the south ever produced, Lewis Grizzard. Reggie may not be kicking as high as he once did, but he’s still kicking, and I guarantee he watched every minute of Georgia regaining the crown after 40-plus years. He provided my all-time favorite quote when he stayed out all night carousing, arrived for an early morning tee time, stepped to the tee, swung mightily and missed the whole ball. He turned to the crowd of amused spectators and said, “This is the hardest damn golf course I have ever played in my life.”

I think of Billy Woodall, who owned WDWD radio station in Dawson for all my years growing up. He may have been the most rabid fan ever. He went to all games, away and home, and not just football but basketball, tennis, baseball, all of it. He must have had one helluva work staff. He had a morning college football show, made up of a few local sports folks who predicted the upcoming week’s outcome for each SEC game. From the time I was about 7 until I was 18, I never heard him predict Georgia to lose. They could be 3-4, playing 8-0 ‘Bama, and he’d say, “I think they’ll pull the upset this week.”

If Georgia lost, he’d put on his pajamas and go to bed, even if it was 5 p.m. in Athens. He didn’t have to put on those PJ’s last night, though. He’s in heaven, having died at a Kentucky-Georgia football game years ago, but I guarantee he’s smiling down and predicting they’ll win it all again next year.

There is also Tom Chandler, perhaps my father’s best friend, struck down by cancer at way too early an age. He lived and breathed UGA football and went to every game with my father. Tom was a consummate Southern gentleman. Always gracious and polite and a ton of fun to be around. Don’t know how he fit in with all those drunk obnoxious Georgia fans coming down the track, but he did.

Last night he saw the game through the eyes of a son, grandsons, and a host of great grandchildren. One of those great grandsons was at the game I believe. There was a lot of barking going on last night from his lineage. Some things live on from generation to generation. I’m pretty sure Tom smiled down last night on it all.

Finally, I think of 90-something-year-old Karlyn Fiveash. She’s the Betty White of Terrell County, except she’s known by more folks than Betty White and is liked better, too. She’s tormented my soul for years, usually at church, each time Auburn struggled and celebrated every Georgia victory, even if it was against Bowling Green. She told me Kirby would win it all. She told me she would be here to see it. She was right. I may have to skip church for a few months now.

So as much as it pains me to say it, congratulations on a title well-deserved. Enjoy the sweet nectar of total victory. And don’t bring it up to me again because I’ve already begun my famous battle cry of “wait until next year.”

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(1) comment


WDE! Maybe next year. Or the next.

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