Why I’m Giving Up On Georgia Football

The UGA-Boise State game is what helped me realize that I had a problem, and needed to take drastic measures.

I graduated from the University of Georgia in 1998 with a B.A. in English.

I worked for the University of Georgia raising money for the Alumni Fund.

I’ve pulled for and loved the University of Georgia for my entire life.

But this year’s Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic against Boise State was my epiphany, and this past week’s loss to South Carolina cemented my decision: I’m done with Georgia football.

For a while, anyway.

Now, before some of you pour out the Haterade on my head, let me just say this: it has nothing to do with wins and losses. Not really. I mean, I’m sure if we were winning, it might not occur to me to make such a drastic change in my life. I’m sure, if we were winning, I’d just bite the bullet and keep watching, despite the mounting evidence, despite the warning signs.

But since we’re not winning, since we’re currently looking really, really bad right now, it’s the perfect time for me to step away from the game for health reasons.

Not bad kness, or a bum shoulder. Mental health reasons.

See, as a Georgia fan, I get too invested in the game. Too emotionally involved in the antics of 18-22 year-olds who are simply trying to enjoy the physical prime of their lives by playing a game at which they excel. Too attached to the ebb and flow of the games, to the point that I find myself wiling to say and do things that are not in keeping with my normal behavior.

I first began to notice this a few years ago, when my daughter was two. She toddled in front of the screen during the Georgia-Florida game and I almost lost my mind. Georgia was driving, and right when Stafford was rolling out for a pass, she blocked my field of vision. I couldn’t see what happened on the field, but could hear the announcers sudden change in tone.

Couple that with the fact that Ella had grabbed my face and was trying to tear it off with her fingernails, and it was a bad moment. I pulled her off of me with a bit too much force; she wasn’t hurt, and to be honest, she wasn’t even fazed. But the sudden sense of guilt and remorse for that split-second action was overwhelming. I was too into football.

And ever since then, I’ve noticed that same pattern repeating itself. I watch Georgia football and I get too wired in, too involved in a game that ultimately means nothing to anyone other than fans and the University accounting department. I live or die with each bad call, bad bounce, bad run of luck. I stew like a pot of chili if we lose.

Now, I get worked up watching any sporting event, because vicarious thrills are part of the fan experience. But I don’t get raging mad if the Falcons get beat like an extra in a Bruce Lee movie. I don’t lose my stuff if the Braves suddenly can’t win against the Bad News Bears. I feel the full range of emotions watching any other sporting event without developing the intense mental anguish that comes from watching Georgia football.

In short, I care too much for being just a casual fan.

If I painted my body, spent stupid amounts of money on donations, tickets, paraphernalia, parking, tailgating, and tattoos, then my actions might be justified, because I would obviously be one of those people who are just that into the game, or into the UGA pride thing.

But I’m not that kind of fan. I have one Georgia hat and three Georgia polos. No T-shirts, no sweatpants, no matching socks that bark the fight song (“Glory, Glory to Ol’ Georgia!”). If you didn’t know me, you might not ever know that I was a Georgia fan.

So my temporary insanity makes no sense. Thus, I’m giving up Georgia football for the foreseeable future.

Even if we get good, even if we play for the national title game in the next five years, I don’t know that I’ll be watching, because the good-bad play of the team doesn’t change how involved I get. I’m wired in either way; only the aftermath changes, and that’s not worth the roller coaster ride through mental derangement.

So take heart, Georgia fans: those of you who are true to the Red and Black, who bleed Bulldog blood and bark at unsuspecting strangers, you will not have to worry about this “fair-weather” fan anymore. You won’t have to berate me for not really loving the University or for not being a true fan. You can relax and have the team to yourself.

And there’s a bonus – I’ve found that when I don’t watch Georgia games, or listen to them on the radio, or follow them on the ESPN GameTracker, I’ve found that they tend to do significantly better. Like, I think the Dawgs are undefeated if I don’t care to know how they do.

So if UGA suddenly rises to the BCS pedestal over the next few years, you can send those thank you notes to this blog post.

And know in advance that you’re welcome.


Questions For God (Since It’s The End Of The World)

A man in California says the world will end tonight at 6:00 PM.

As a card-carrying member of Generation X, the official generation of skepticism, snark, and relentless doubt, I feel compelled to say:


I know I’ve written about this the last couple of days, but it’s the predominant topic on everyone’s mind. Personally, I say no. One wingnut with a Bible radio network and a need for attention does not a prophet make. Historically, the kind of people God called to the role of prophet were a little more humble and a lot more credible. (Harold Camping, as we know, is 0-for-1 on the doomsday predictions. He also had Duke in his NCAA brackets, so there you go.) But thanks to massive billboards, Twitter, and the general Christian illiteracy in this nation, what should be a molehill has been backbuilt into a mountain. People, it seems, are in a bit of a panic.

In my own community, I’ve noticed “End of the World” inspired garage sales, an inordinate number of them to be honest. And driving by I’m thinking a couple of things:

1. If you’re a Christian having a yard sale, what’s the point? Where you gonna spend that cash – at the arcade in Heaven?

2. If you’re not a Christian, why would you shop at an end-of-the-world yard sale? If you’re patient, the same crap will be free tomorrow.

Suffice it to say, these questions have prompted more questions, questions that – if we do go meet Jesus in the air tonight – I’d like to ask God when I get a minute. And yes, I think there will be questions in Heaven; if there weren’t, it’d get awfully boring. The good thing will be that there will also be answers.

So, 30 questions that I’d like to ask God if I go to Heaven tonight:

1. Southern Baptists: were we even close to being right?

2. Who shot JFK?

3. The Middle East: what the heck was the problem there?

4. How did my Thermos know to keep hot things hot and cold things cold? Was it witchcraft?

5. Given the self-assurance of most people when making decisions for their life, did you, as the Supreme Omnipotent Being, spend most of the time laughing your butt off at our stupidity?

6. Why just the one World Series title for the Braves? Was it because of Rocker?

7. Please settle this ages-old dilemma: tastes great or less filling?

8. Why did I have to go through high school looking like a stick figure?

9. What would my kids have grown up to be like?

10. Did Pluto cry when it was downgraded from planet to orb?

11. On a scale from 1 to 10, how stupid was the battle between science and faith?

12. David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar?

13. How did Jesus manage to live 33 years without sinning? Even with his divine nature, the temptation to smoke a couple of turkeys had to be strong.

14. Just how much did The Fall screw everything up? Can we blame it for earthquakes and hurricanes? What about genocide? The Jersey Shore cast?

15. Other than the Bible, what was the best book ever written? Best song? Best movie?

16. Since we never got to see, who was the mother on “How I Met Your Mother”?

17. Who was the funniest of Jesus’ 12 disciples?

18. Did Judas Iscariot go to Heaven or Hell? This was a big issue when I was in seminary.

19. Favorite superhero of all time?

20. Since it’s Heaven, this really doesn’t matter, but just for me: which was cooler – Star Wars or Star Trek?

21. Which team has the fewest fans here: the Yankees, Lakers, or Raiders?

22. My daughter Ruthanne got here way before me; will she know who I am?

23. Is there fishing in Heaven? Cause, if so, I know where to find about half of my relatives.

24. Which book of the Bible was the most misinterpreted? I’m guessing the Revelation of John.

25. Christianity as a faith lasted over 2,000 years; were there any doctrines that got fundamentally changed over the years? In the latter decades, what things did we over-emphasize or under-emphasize?

26. I’ve been assuming that there is a Heaven and Hell; but for argument’s sake, did all paths really lead here? If so, I’m guessing some folks will have a duck when they see Osama, Hitler and Pol Pot playing croquet.

27. Was it ever possible for human beings to NOT turn your instructions into a strictly enforced code?

28. Which Pope was your favorite? How about which preacher?

29. How delusional were we to think that America was your favorite nation of all time?

30. I’m glad to be here, but just out of curiosity: of all people in the world, why did Harold Camping have to be right?