Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Drinking the Kool-Aid...Good Times on Campus

For the record, I once went from academic probation to Dean's List the very next quarter...once. Let's just keep that in mind... 

What follows is also factual.

It occurred to me a couple weeks ago how terrifically awesome today's UGA students have it. It goes beyond the HOPE Scholarship, which I would have held for exactly one quarter (yeh, we had quarters in lieu of semesters back when computers were the size of one and a half dorm rooms and the internets was just an Al Gore pipe dream). And it goes beyond that new snazzy Learning Center sitting on top of the Tate Center parking lot I would cut through when I had decided to skip PolySci...again.

And if all that weren't enough, today's students have a winning football team and a coed Russell Hall.

The Goff years had one highlight on campus...a thrilling victory over highly regarded Clempson in early October '91 that lead to the Chapel Bell ringing for many a drunken hour.

I did get to enjoy the baseball team's national championship run in '90 (while failing PolySci). But probably the greatest sporting event I saw on campus while "studying" to be a taxpayer was a basketball game.

Yes, you read that right.

Durham's Dogs were rockin' and rollin' during the 89-90 season. Meanwhile Dale Brown's LSwho Tigers were backing up Stanley Roberts with a lean and trim kid named Shaquille O'Neal (before he converted to a diesel engine). 

It was a glorious Sunday afternoon (ie. big-time conference televised game), we'd camped out for tickets and cooked s'mores over a campfire in front of the Stegeman ticket window....except instead of s'mores we had Mr. Boston's kool-aid. Some kid named (Exxon) Valdez got a little too pumped up and spilled his refreshment in my sleeping bag. 

UGH! The spoils of luxurious appointments.

The game itself though lived up to its billing. Close... rowdy... physical... clutch Neville Austin free throws.... and a come from behind win for the Dawgs that all but sewed up a conference title - Georgia basketball's only regular season, modern day title. Durham's '90 squad was also the only UGA B-Ball team to finish undefeated at home.

I'm proud to say I was a key cog in that machine. Or maybe just a kool-aid stained bystander attending more athletic events than 7:50am lectures. Glory Glory!

If you are currently failing PolySci at UGA, this memory would equate to a recent victory over... say... well, it doesn't equate to anything really. It was the basketball team's biggest on-campus win in its history. 

And I remember every detail that the kool-aid will allow. Unfortunately, in the first round of the NCAA tourney a few weeks later, the largest crowd ever to watch a Georgia basketball team play saw them lose to Texas in the Hoosier Dome.

But in the end everything turned out ok. So inspired was I by Dave Fleming, Stan Payne and Ray Suplee's work on the diamond as well as Alec Kessler and Litterial Green's hustle on the hardcourt that I went on to pass a Georgia History course to take the place of PolySci. And as a reward UGA Housing moved girls into Russell Hall just in time for me to meet my future better half (although truthfully, Jenn wouldn't really speak to me until I had graduated and landed a lady).

So let's open the phone lines - what's your favorite on campus victory while studying, or...not studying...just living?

Have you been a part of the modern day, fertile ground of campus championships and epic wins? Football, baseball, gymnastics, tennis... Or are you old school, where the campus wins were as frequent as an on time 2am Gumby's delivery?

What win will you (or do you) look back on with a smile?

Free Gumby's 20 inch with pepperoni if
 you can pick Perno out of this top-notch outfit.


Paige said...

I don't know if I have one favorite memory of UGA athletics. I do know that my very first UGA football game was absolutely amazing. The sad thing is that I have no idea who we played. I just remember the emotions of a life long Dawg at her very first game. I was seated in the lower section on the 30 yard line in the first row. We were standing on the bleachers and I remember thinking that I was going to fall off of them b/c I was shaking so much. I had tears in my eyes when the Dawgs took the field. It was an amazing experience.

I was also at that Clemson game you mentioned. ;-)

I was also one of the first girls to move into Russell Hall! I loved it. Lots of wonderful memories and friends were made there.

MikeInValdosta said...

Not only did we have quarters and no hope scholarship, but registration was a tad more difficult, punch card and a prayer... But I had Coach Dooley for 3 years, got to tear turf from Jordan-Hare, watched Tim Worley, Keith Henderson, Lars Tate, Rodney Hampton, Richard Tardits, Ben Smith.... AND WE NEVER LOST IN JACKSONVILLE!!!! Even went to the Shreveport to play Ark in the SWC, won't talk about East lake hartwell tractor drivers.

Was around when Drama went from an easy A to an attendance policy.

Widespread every Thursday at the Uptown Lounge!

Steverino's and Sons of Italy, which ever had a spot on the deck, drinking beer out of paper pitchers.

Nickel night here, quarter night there, drunk girls everywhere.

People use to smoke in the J-School halls.... No air conditioning in many North campus buildings.

The smoke clouds coming from McWhorter...

Saw Kessler and WILLIE Anderson

Good damn times

Bernie said...

You made quite the security chief once you moved in too Paige. ; )

Mike - punch card and a prayer is right. Took me nearly five years to get Golf during the spring. Great memories...thanks for sharing.

Noops Dawg said...

Good story. I'll have to get back to this with my best post-victory memory after my time at UGA is done.

Thanks for the blog link. Your blog will now grace my small, but powerful list of links as well.

Mackie said...

While I did not go to UGA, I will still share my favorite sports moment from my college days. The intense world of D-III basketball permeates the campus of LaGrange College. During one evening our fraternity decided to meet at the house 2 hours before a huge rivalry game (pretty much the same as UGA/FL except on a small private college level). We all drank more than our share and were so freakin' tanked we could hardly tell which team we were heckling. It came down to LaGrange being down 2 points with 3 seconds left and we hit a shot from mid-court to take the lead with a couple of seconds still on the clock. However, when we took the lead our entire fraternity (who was sitting at halfcourt) stormed the court and dog-piled our point guard...while the ball was being passed inbounds to an eventual missed shot from halfcourt by Huntington. Our basketball coach was pissed and wrote our chapter advisor an angry letter telling us to stay off the court until time expired. That of course got ripped up in a chapter meeting but none-the-less, beating a hated rival and storming the court with time on the clock (which didn't stop gameplay for some reason) all while being wasted with your best friends...nothing else like it.

So, sorry for not having a good UGA undergrad story but I think being at UGA/Tech during Stafford's first year when we took the lead with one minute left was an excellent experience (especially because I was sitting in the visitors section). Does that count???

Bernie said...

Noops...some advice for your undergraduate study in case you take Statistics. When they say LASTADAY it means "yesterday". When they say NEXTADAY they mean "tomorrow". I ended up turning in crap nextaday when it was due lastaday. Sheesh!

And Mackie! I spent three "quarters" at LaGrange during what I like to refer as my first freshman year. Transferred out with a 3.6 and went straight to academic probation at UGA. The rest of the story you read ^^^^ up there. Anyway, great story that sounds like it took some effort to recall the details to. Hope the point guard survived...

MikeInValdosta said...

Since we are begin honest, Independent Study was an excellent way to get off of academic probation. A solid 15 - 18 hours and you would have your student activity card back in time for football season and be able to keep it through the beginning of basketball.

Today's students all want to sit in the lower level. In my day, the lower lever led to neck problems as you were always having to look up to dodge the plastic cups falling like sugar from the sky!

MikeInValdosta said...

Regarding Statistics, another piece of advice, try hard not to have a class in front of it. Statistics was so far away from everything I often just played pool at Tate.

Bernie said...

Mike - I do think you and I were on the same five-year plan. I applied to the Tate Center's School of Pool but scratched on the break. Downhill from there. Fell into a major in North Campus Naps.

namaman said...

Well, as for that Clemson game, it was a fond memory for me until I got back to my hall at Russell when all 64, yes 64, ceiling tiles had been broken, the fire extinguisher discharged, the exit sign ripped off of the ceiling, and who knows how many glass beer bottles being broken on the floor of the hall (it was one of the 2 wings at Russell that still had tile floors at the time!)... So that is what I really remember most about game!

So for a better memory, I think the 17-16 victory over Alabama in 1990 was one of the most exciting games I attended during my college days. We came back and Kasay hit a field goal late in the game to give us the lead. Hines was all over the place for us that game too. It was awesome!!

As for statistics, I always thought it was NEXTODAY & LASTODAY... Maybe that's why I had less trouble in STAT class than Bernie...

Bernie said...

my spellings were for pronunciations (ie. LAST-Ah-DAY). I thought the definition was implied; and you probably had less trouble because you went to class....

Anonymous said...

I've got a lot of great memories of campus victories, even though I was there during some lean football years. As Bernie pointed out, We did get to enjoy the first year that Russell Hall was, ahem, officially coed. We also got to see some fine baseball and Yoculan... Gymnasts... I mean Gymnastics.

I have to bring up some great intramural stuff- falling for a 1 yard touchdown on the quad, fouling out of basketball games quicker than Shaquille ever did, and one memorable pool volleyball game where a smart girl in a bikini actually talked to Bernie.

Still, my first football game at Georgia is still my favorite memory. I had just turned eight years old, and Daddy decided to take me to My first Georgia game.

We got up early, dressed in red, and kissed Mama goodbye. We went to The Pot Luck Cafe for breakfast. For those unfamiliar with the establishment, it's a greasy spoon restaurant in Monroe. The waitresses call you Darlin'. There is no fruit cup on the menu. There, in fact, are no menus. Everywhere there are old UGA football photos, Lewis Grizzard articles, and more statues and pictures of Uga than you can count.

We sat at the table with the old men (aka "Pillahs ahv tha
Cahmunity"). They solemnly impressed upon me the duties of a Georgia fan. "Ya gotta cheer 'em on, boy! We're depending on you!"

We drove to the game on a Perfect Day for Football. I know it was a Perfect Day for Football because some guy on the radio named "Munson" told me it was. We parked close enough to the stadium that an eight year old boy could walk to his seat (this was before we began recruiting administrators from Center College, but I digress).

Daddy and I sat about 30 rows up on the 45 yard line. We don't sit on the 45 yard line anymore. Mama forgot to send in the ticket orde one year, and the corresponding lack of seniority sent us to the 15 yard line. This is the only sin of which My Sainted Mother may be rightly accused.

Sanford was the biggest, loudest place I had ever seen. It also had the biggest crowd and they all wore red like me. And we all wanted the Dawgs to win.

Daddy taught me how to bark at kickoffs. He pointed out Uga, and Herschel, and Belue. He explained the different positions on the team- Tailback (Herschel), Linemen (block for Herschel), and Quarterback (the guy who hands the ball to Herschel- sorry, Buck). He bought me a coke, peanuts, and one of those Poss barbecue sandwiches.

We yelled "Run Herschel Run!!!", and Daddy made sure that I knew he was Only a Freshman. Later in the game, I made sure people around us knew that important fact too. We beat some team named the Horny Toads by a score of 34-3. We cheered until we were both hoarse. I went to bed that night with the crowd noise still ringing in my ears.

First time in Athens, first sight of Sanford, first Georgia game, watching our Dawgs take one more step to a National Championship with my Dad- yeah, that's my best memory. I hope I see our Dawgs win a national championship, but even that may not top a simple win over TCU.

"Ya gotta cheer 'em on!"

Damn Straight!


MikeInValdosta said...

Fred, I must say you have me beat. Awesome story and delivered. My first was later that year. I grew up in a FSU household, but had a cousin going to UGA, she was a soph writing working in the athletic department. WE all thought she was a traitor. She did however spring 4 tickets to the Auburn game on my mother. Auburn being only about 30 minutes away and being big college football fans, we decided to go.

First I should tell you my family has had SEminole season tickets since before Bobby Bowden. I was in Doak-Campbell before Bobby. I think it only sat about 30k at the time and was never more than half full. I got at least 5 of those little footballs the cheerleaders would throw out every Saturday. But I digress.

Sitting in the Georgia section in Jordan-Hare was something my father couldn't even comprehend. My father, FSU alum, now attends Bulldawg games...
Walking to our seats I was telling Mama to look at all the crazy people wearing those silly red pants, of which I have about 5 pair in the closet now.

I do not remember much about what happened on the football field that day, just the emotional swings this tight knit family of about 7 thousand was going through under the east end zone scoreboard. No one was sitting and being only 11 (almost 12) I could barely see anything.

I had a little record player as a small child. My first record was "I've been working on the Railroad". I fell hard for "Glory"!!!

I will forever be grateful to that liberal ass cousin of mine for turning me on to the great University of Georgia!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I too remember that pool volleyball game Fred. I believe I did speak to Bernie that day and as they say...the rest is history.
I'm glad to say I was a Baker Hall girl the 1st year Russell went coed(much to my mother's dismay).
I have to say one of my best memories occurred before I became an actual student. It was during the campus tour where the student guide(cute guy by the way) takes you on the walk to the stadium & tells you if you've never attended a UGA football game it will be the closest thing to a religious experience you will ever have in your life. Now I was a good southern baptist girl, so that solidified it for me--I had to see that huge stadium actually filled with fans cheering on their team.
A few months later, after driving 450 miles further south & turning down scholarships at VA Tech to pay out of state tuition, I experienced my first UGA game & had a blast! I learned all about the importance of where to hide the flask or ziploc baggie of Beam so that me & my friends from Savannah wouldn't get dehydrated cheering for our team:-) I doubt I could tell you if we won that first game, but it was a religious experience for me none the less.

MikeInValdosta said...

Oh hell, this blog has caused me to mute the tourney, break out the bourbon and put on Lewis Grizzard CDs. I am on the fifth bourbon and third CD. Wife walked in the door, saw me with tears in my eyes and just turned around and walked out.

MikeInValdosta said...

A Brazilian

The Dept Of Defense briefed the president this morning, they told OBAMA that 2 Brazilian soldiers were killed in Iraq . To everyone's surprise, all the color drained from Obama's face.
Then he collapsed onto his desk, head in his hands, visibly shaken, almost in tears.

Finally, he composed himself and asked, 'Just how many is a Brazilian?'

This is especially funny since he obviously has no understanding of billion or trillion either......

Bernie said...

Fred - the only thing missing from that jewel of a comment is a 7 year old dangling from the Chapel Bell rope as Daddy screamed, "Make it ring boy! Make it ring!"

Jenn - your decision to spurn VA Tech was the second best decision you ever made....

And Mike - I like the way you roll!

Dawgmjs said...

I have to add one more thing to that Clemson game line. My favorite memory too. I seem to remember that the Braves clinched the pennant that day too, and a few weeks later, after Frankie drove Sid home, a group from Russell Hall led by a certain Athens native chanting "FU&^ the Bucs!" gathered with the heathen downtown in an awe inspiring drunken celebration. Ah, Athens...I miss thee.