There’s a price to pay when you love something. When you become emotionally invested into something outside of your control. When your moods are determined by an external source. It’s always a gamble. A risk. A leap of faith as you sit there, and you watch, and you hold your breath for what will happen next.
That’s the life of a football fan.
But when you put it in perspective, it’s funny that guys ranging from 18-23 years old have the ability to control our emotions. That their next move determines whether we smile or cry or simply break down a door. Some people say “it’s just a game,” but you and I know that it’s more than just that—these games, these players, these emotional rollercoasters that will have you wanting an oxygen mask in your own home. It’s a lifestyle choice that we continuously choose year after year because we never give up.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Are we insane? Maybe. But is it worth it? Absolutely.
Go back to September 9, 2017. Do you remember how it felt when we beat Notre Dame that night in South Bend, Indiana? The 20-19 win that would go on to shape the rest of our season. That was when we as Dawg Nation established ourselves. That was when people starting saying “dawgs travel.” That was when we made a statement that said we’re here whether you like it or not.
Do you remember how you felt when we shutout Tennessee in Knoxville? Revenge is so sweet, isn’t it? That day the fire under Butch’s hot seat was burning like the fire in the souls of those who wear the red and black.
Do you remember how it felt to watch us get man-handled by Auburn? Likes our hopes and dreams were slipping away with every second the clock ran down. That unnecessarily cold and gloomy day in Auburn, Alabama tried to turn our worlds dark and grey. But—do you remember how you felt when you saw Kirby Smart lift up that SEC Championship trophy high and proud? After you watched D’Andre Swift run so fast he was almost flying? (If you haven’t watched that clip yet with Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” playing in the background, I highly recommend it.) Remember the day that Auburn learned not to bring a cat to a dawg fight.
This season we got to stop and smell the roses. And boy did they smell good. Remember when we beat Oklahoma in double overtime? After a hopeless looking first half, the Dawgs came out for a fight in the second. We were fortunate enough to witness one of the most historical Rose Bowl games of all time, and we were even more fortunate enough to come out on top. Remember when Lorenzo Carter blocked that field goal? I bet you couldn’t believe your eyes. And remember when Sony Michel ran the ball into the end zone and the world just stopped for a second? I think cloud nine was actually Pasadena, California on that day. Because that’s where we all were—on cloud nine.
Can you take a second and think back over this incredible journey that we went on this past season? From flea-flickers to blocked kicks to watching our senior’s last game in Sanford Stadium. Do you remember the highs? The nights we lit up Sanford Stadium in the fourth quarter as the instruments from the band erupted into the ever-chilling Krypton. The clips before the games that give us a reminder of Larry Munson’s voice. Do you ever think about what he would’ve said this season? Do you think we would’ve gotten to hear “my God a freshman” just one more time? How did you feel when our boys ran out of the tunnel after being announced as “the number one team in the land”?
It’s the days of watching these boys progress and grow tougher and stronger and fiercer that keep us going. It’s the days of forming a bond so strong throughout the entire Bulldog Nation as we became one big family that never let us quit. It’s the times when it felt as if we were on top of the world.
That’s the stuff that keeps us believing.
Because I know you remember what you felt like on Monday night.
And I know you’re trying to not think about it, but don’t do that. Remember. Remember the pain. Remember the tears. Remember the heartbreak.
It’s the feeling inside you when it feels like there’s nothing inside you.
The emptiness. Like you’re hollow.
Because that feeling makes you hungry for more. It makes the players hungry. It makes the coaches hungry. It’s a feeling that leaves you so unsatisfied you feel sick, and you won’t settle until you know you won’t feel that way again.
The University of Georgia football program has started a fire and it is spreading. We weren’t supposed to be there—in that Mercedes-Benz Stadium—on Monday night, but we were. We weren’t supposed to have this dream season, but we did. Sadly though, you have to wake up from dreams, and that’s when reality hits. You have to wake up and go on to face this thing called life: full of heartbreaks, disappointments, and let-downs. But just like every night you go to sleep, you can dream again. So keep on dreaming and keep on believing because these boys are just getting started.
Buckle up because this is the beginning of a long ride ahead. Yes, there will be speed bumps along the way. We may even hit a traffic jam here and there, but we won’t stop. We’ll keep chopping. Because this new breed of Bulldogs is hungrier than ever.