Monday, October 12, 2015

Clear eyes. Full heart. Mark Richt.

I'm angry. You are too. It's one of those soul-searching weeks. And this one comes right after another one we had hoped would be the last for awhile. On a personal level, I keep asking myself, "Am I now one of those fans that's satisfied with an eight, nine, or ten win season and a bowl game?"

My current answer to that question is, "Satisfied is a strong word." I am one to support the coach as the head of the program until his last moments on the sideline. I remember being ready to see Coach Donnan step down but still cheering for him and his players to win games.

Is that weird? I don't think so.

And I know I have less faith than most that we can find a better coach for the University of Georgia than Mark Richt. That is to say, I think the chances are greater that we reach the top with Richt than we do with whomever Butts-Mehre might choose next.

Truthfully there's a lot that I don't know. But I know this picture is worth a thousand words.

via Sonny Kennedy
In a game that chews players up for the almighty dollar so they can spit them out to make room for the next "five star", that is a moment of pure love. Many will point to that picture and say it's proof that Richt would walk away from the actual game to pray with one player. I see it and recognize a man who understands that he has this one moment to help his player at this most crucial time in his life. He knows that this player is hurt as much emotionally as he is physically. In that moment, Richt is a father, a coach, and a man of faith with words of encouragement for Nick Chubb.

That last sentence will stick in many fans' craw. And believe me when I tell you that I get it. I understand your side of things and why you're frustrated. I want to win as badly as anyone, but I'm also one that sees that there are moments bigger than the game of football.

I sit here as a fan that yearns daily for the time when my team is celebrated nationally as much as locally. But I'm proud of my team, even in defeat and especially in moments of pure despair. I'm proud to be a Georgia Bulldog. I'm proud of the players that wear the G that my kids look up to. I'm proud of our coach, Mark Richt.

Like PWD said, I hope Richt is here forever and wins championships. Many folks can only look at the past and point to its failures. They stand on "five yards short" and "Urban did this" and "Chizik did that", and they shout about the facts as they see them.

I don't look at the past. I prefer here and now as it relates to the future. Recruiting is much improved. Support for the program is trending upwards. These young players Richt and his coaches keep putting out there are going to grow up with experience under their helmets.

That's real change. That's actually learning from past mistakes. To me, that's proof that this is not the same program it was when we lost all those games in 2009-2010. Not even the same program it was when we came so close in 2012. 

I don't know what the future holds. But I know Missouri is next, and that I'll be there giving everything I can in support of my team, its coach, and his players.