MEMORIES FROM PAST UGA-AUBURN TILTS: Part I
I cannot exactly remember the first Georgia-Auburn game I saw, but I can remember the better part of the last 25-30 contests. Since my birth, in 1966, the Dawgs are 17-20-2 against the WarPlainsTigerEagles. Since Auburn holds only a 4 game advantage in the total 108 times the teams have met, we have lost ground during my 39 year tenure as a loyal Dawgs fan. This is a disturbing trend that I would like to see reversed - starting Saturday.
One of the earliest memories I have of this series is back in the late '70s when both teams wore tear-away jerseys. I remember Ray Goff going through several jerseys running the old veer attack, but it always seemed like Auburn's backs were wearing paper jerseys the way the came apart with the slightest tug. Of course, after watching the big boys play, my friends and I would get out our oldest t-shirts for the next pick-up tackle football game. For good measure, we would go ahead and get a few rips started in the old shirts so that before the afternoon was over, we would return home in shreds. For some reason, I have no visual images of other SEC teams wearing tearaways like Georgia and Auburn.
My senior year in high school (Fall 1983), I was fortunate enough to be on a recruiting trip to the UGA-Auburn game in Athens and was in the locker room after the game the Dawgs lost (7-13) which cost us the SEC Championship. I don't remember exactly what Coach Dooley told the players, but I recall thinking that he was a great leader who commanded instant respect. I still do!
In 1986, I was a Midshipman at the Naval Academy, but I vividly recall watching the "If You Can't Beat 'Em, Hose 'Em" game at Chadwicks on K-Street in Georgetown with my friend Mark Haden from Ladue, MO. That year, my brother Drew (USNA '86; pictured at right) was in flight school in Pensacola and made the trip to the Plains with a few other Aviators in training. After Wayne Johnson led the Dawgs to a 20-16 win, the celebration was on. To keep the Georgia fans off the field, West Opelika's finest turned fire hoses on the crowd. My brother, being the way he is an all, got hosed Selma Style. I wish I had seen that! (UPDATE 9-25-07: Apparently this one paragraph from my blog keeps getting linked at al.com on an Auburn message board eliciting discussion from those who want to say Auburn is classless (which I have not done) and those who defend Auburn by stating that there were no firehoses, only sprinklers. Whether or not the water came from firehoses or sprinklers was not particularly germane to my paragraph, but in the interest of accuracy and to not inflame Auburn folks, I will stipulate that some Georgia fans were soaked with "sprinklers" rather than firehoses. Furthermore, I will stipulate that Georgia fans, my brother included, should have stayed off the field. Finally, I will stipulate that I never considered what happened as classless or unwarranted, I simply thought it was funny. That is all. It happened. It was funny to everyone I ever talked to about it. My brother got soaked. I laughed then and I laugh about it still. Life should not be boring - unlike my blog! Furthermore, within a few days of posting this series of recollections in November 2005, I posted this about Auburn fans. I certainly did not intended to throw any trash on Auburn anywhere in this blog and I am disappointed that one innocuous paragraph has been linked several times as an indication of some sort of Auburn bashing. But, it has been amusing seeing how much traffic my little blog has gotten "out of the blue" the past few days. I will also say that I was in Sanford Stadium in November 1995 when Auburn players and fans as well as Georgia fans destroyed our hedges, but it did not matter because the hedges were coming out to make room for the 1996 Olympic Soccer games. Now, don't even try to tell me that didn't happen because I saw many Auburn players walking around the field after the game with pieces of the hedges 3-4' long. Still, so what? The hedges were doomed anyway and that was the last game in Sanford that season.
One last note, while growing up, I worked on our farm and we used "sprinklers" to water our tobacco, corn, peanuts and soybeans. Those sprinklers operated at 110 p.s.i. and would shoot water 120 feet. I'm just sayin.')
In 1988, having graduated from Navy, I was a student at the Navy Supply Corps School in Athens - located not too far from Allen's Famous Hamburgers on Prince Avenue (a brief moment of silence please). Okay, I just spent the last 5 minutes thinking about all the good times at Allen's. I wish I had some of the brain cells back, but other than that, Allen's was good to me and my crew. Anyway... Georgia was playing at Auburn with a shot at tying for the SEC Crown. I stayed in Athens and we had a party at some girls' condo at Eagle (Something) off of South Lumpkin. The Dawgs were playing rather poorly. However, the beers were going down rather nicely. During the half-time, we went out into the parking lot and were throwing a nerf football around. With an excess of zeal, I chased after one throw and rolled my ankle on the curb like Tyrone Prothro. Ok, not quite that bad, but it hurt like I had gotten caught in a steel bear trap and started swelling instantly. The rest of the afternoon, I watched the game with my right foot and ankle submersed in the icy water of our beer tub.