For me it happened Thursday. I was driving home from work and had GnRs Welcome to the Jungle crank'd pretty loud. I was aware that the 2009 college football season would start in exactly two weeks. I was even more aware that while I would be watching that Thursday night game I would also be packing for my flight the next day.
Axl wailed about the green grass and suddenly it hit me. It started in the pit of my stomach and raged through me until my fingers tingled eagerly. Yes! I finally had the feeling that I was ready.
Understand, I'm not talking about wishing the Dawgs '09 campaign through the SEC would get here already. That started back on January 2nd, right? And I'm not suggesting that I didn't get really pumped up when I watched this a few weeks ago.
No, I'm talking about the confluence of both eagerness and proximity; enthusiasm meets a moment on the calendar when you can both see and feel the electricity of toe meeting leather.
It's time. It's Saturday in Athens. It's about hunkering down and it's about hobnails. It ain't always easy, it ain't always pretty. But it's all work that has to be done. The team has toiled especially hard, the coaches have punched the clock mercilessly. To not be ready yourself is to let the fan sitting next to you down. It would be a slap in the face to players like Owens who have worked so damn hard to get back to 100% and play again 'tween the hedges. It would be a dishonor to the legends who have worn the silver britches and the Georgia G in eras gone by.
Sure, there are the mundane tasks all fans must do before the start of the season. The car flags dug out of the garage, the cornhole renewed into gameday shape. Beer must be iced. Menus must be set. If the satellite dish is in the attic, it needs to come down damnit.
But those just scratch the surface. There will be times when not just your voice is needed, but your heart. There will be times when it won't be enough to just have 92,746 on their collective feet, they all must hunker down just ONE more time. There may be a time on September 5th, maybe in the 3rd quarter when the Cowboys need 3 yards and WE CAN NOT GIVE IT TO THEM!! There may be a time in early October when the Hat implores his Tigers to keep us out of the endzone and WE HAVE TO HELP P U S H CHAPAS ACROSS THE GOAL LINE!! There will be a time when the hated Gators punch us in the face and WE HAVE TO RISE UP FROM THE AllTel TURF TO PLAY ANOTHER DOWN!!
We must because that is what Dawgs do. You know. You remember. It's time.
It's not about me. It's not about you. It's not about Cox starting as a fifth year senior. It's not about excuses for embarrassing losses in the past and it's not about what class of player is covering kicks. It's not even about Munson watching without a microphone in front of that glorious, desperate voice. It's certainly not about which tailback has slipped in the depth chart or which defensive back nearly left early for the NFL.
It's about red. It's about black. It's not which Dawg is in the fight so much as how much fight is in the Dawg. It's about taking your place among the sea of red and black and barking until your ears fold back. It's about being a part of something bigger than each one of us can manage individually. We ARE the BullDawg Nation.
One Team One Goal....One Nation One Voice. We must be ready when our team is. And the time is now....
So I ask you Reader...are you ready?