Paul Johnson: Ramblin’ Wreck driving instructor

If you read the Ramblin’ Wreck story, you saw the comments from Paul Johnson saying his only dealings with it have been “to tell ‘em to get out of the way,” and a former driver recounting another driver’s account of Johnson’s enthusiastic encouragement before a game to make haste out of the tunnel.

I have to thank Ramblin’ (W)Reck driver Mike Macmillan for pointing this out to me, a video from the 2009 season opener. Listen closely to the first few seconds. You might recognize the voice. Watch till the end, though. Pretty funny.

I want you to think about the situation for the driver. It was his first-ever ride-out onto the field (the 2009 Jacksonville State game; each driver takes the keys after the previous season, so the home opener is his first drive onto the field) so he’s got to be amped, nervous, not wanting to screw up. Maybe he’s hearing the football team in the tunnel behind him, shouting and yelling that they want to take the field, the noise reverberating in the enclosed space. Maybe he’s thinking about instructions he’s heard over and over to wait for the game-production staff’s signal before putting it in gear.

And, then, Johnson appears in his window, hollering at him to get going. I give him a lot of credit for keeping his cool and staying on the course, because it’s not like the situation gets any calmer once he drives out. Fans are cheering, the cheerleaders hanging from the side of the car are presumably shouting and also obstructing his field of vision, the band is blasting the fight song into his window and there’s a piece of the banner stuck to the front of the car, further hindering his vision. And he’s got a camera in his face.

If it had been me, I probably would have plowed into the trombone section. Well done, Winfield Tufts.

By the way, the Ramblin’ Reck Club, which maintains the (W)Reck, is building an endowment that will help pay for the car’s upkeep. Information here.

By Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech beat

57 comments Add your comment

Jacket Fan Forever

September 23rd, 2011
3:09 pm

First! But who’s counting?

Great work Ken covering the Jackets. However, fans are more receptive to your writing when the team you are writing about is doing well, like Tech is right now. But I’d still read your stuff if Tech was stinking it up.

Buzzed

September 23rd, 2011
3:17 pm

JFF: That time’s coming soon.

AtWork

September 23rd, 2011
3:29 pm

PerimeterCenterJacket

September 23rd, 2011
3:43 pm

Trying to get this link some publicity as well today. It’s a trailer for tomorrow’s game: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6_2_tQkodI&feature=player_embedded

5150 UOAD

September 23rd, 2011
3:49 pm

Actually I’m a lil pissed at Coach Johnson. He knows the driver has rules to follow too.

PerimeterCenterJacket

September 23rd, 2011
3:54 pm

5150, it was over two years ago without happening since then. I’m sure he was talked to. The TV schedule is a big deal.

Ken Sugiura

September 23rd, 2011
3:55 pm

sorry about that. kind of important to include the video when asking you to look at a video.

TG

September 23rd, 2011
3:57 pm

Nothing like 20,000 fans to get you fired up.

ReckClub2011

September 23rd, 2011
3:58 pm

Thanks Ken for all of your great coverage on the Jackets and the recent entries about the Ramblin’ Reck Club! As a member of this year’s club, we are so appreciate for the publicity you are giving to the Reck’s 50th anniversary, as well as the plug for the Reck’s endowment.

Keep up the great coverage!
Go Jackets!

GT

September 23rd, 2011
4:22 pm

Add another 40,000 there TG. Nothing like and 1-2 start.

5150 UOAD

September 23rd, 2011
4:42 pm

TG
you are right. Nothing like 20,000 (really 40k) fans to get behind the team and Coach.
I think it beats around 75K screaming to fire Grantham, Bobo, and Richt. That must Really fire the team up.

PerimeterCenterJacket

September 23rd, 2011
4:54 pm

Ken, the AJC ought to celebrate some of the lore around the Reck. There used to be rules (still are, but it’s not PC so we can’t admit that) about who may and may not touch the Reck and when. What happens if you do and what happens if you don’t. I spent a long time fighting my way to an undergrad degree at Tech and on Friday afternoons after getting rocked by a Calc test it was always really uplifting to hear the “Ah-oooogah” echoing around campus and seeing the Reck go by. It reminded me I had sports to look forward to and was also not the first one to go through that (since that situation basically repeats every Friday and has for decades.)

Joshua Barlowe

September 23rd, 2011
4:56 pm

Nothing like 60,000 of your own fans leaving a game at the beginning of the 4th quarter, leaving the Dome 90% empty when “your team” is playing the No. 5 team in the nation. How bout THEM Dawg fans?

Ken Sugiura

September 23rd, 2011
5:20 pm

Congratulations, Jacket Fan Forever. Thanks for your promise to keep reading whenever that situation presents itself.

Ken Sugiura

September 23rd, 2011
5:21 pm

PCJ – it would be a fun story; I wrote a little bit about some drivers and their recollections for a story for today’s paper.

Simon Bar Sinister

September 23rd, 2011
5:33 pm

When I was at Tech the Reck parked where it could be seen from the student section. People would walk by it, look at it, take pictures of it, and pose with it, but touching it was not allowed. If someone, for example, put his or her foot on the running board to look inside, someone would start chanting “Get off the Reck! Get off the Reck!”. Soon the whole student section was chanting it.

Sometimes they paid attention and got off, and the crowd cheered. Sometimes, though, they consider that all that chanting was directed at them. If the chant went on long enough without them moving, a swarm of rats, seated on bleachers on the track, would run over to the car. That always did it.

macrotech

September 23rd, 2011
6:14 pm

One of the best traditions going….LOVIN’ the ‘Reck effect!!! GO TECH!!!

19

September 23rd, 2011
6:20 pm

SBS, that’s a long way to go for such a lame joke. THWG! Go Yellow Jackets!

5150 UOAD

September 23rd, 2011
6:22 pm

I farted in the rumble seat once.

James

September 23rd, 2011
6:42 pm

Haha. “When Paul Johnson tells you to go, you go”
That’s a good quote.

5150 UOAD

September 23rd, 2011
6:46 pm

When Richt tells you to go. You go swimming.

GT-UT

September 23rd, 2011
6:50 pm

PCJ…I too spent a long time fighting for my degree…with a co-op to boot. Love the tradition and those who have not had the experience will never understand.

5150 UOAD

September 23rd, 2011
6:53 pm

I miss Capt. Crazy calling out cheers. Rip’m up Tear’m up Give’m hell Tech. Rip their harry arms off we want blood. Capt. Crazy was a head cheer leader late 70’s and last name..Excuse the spelling….Zolkie. he would do the push-ups and eat grass too.

5150 UOAD

September 23rd, 2011
6:54 pm

hairy sorry AHHAHAHAH

GDBurdell

September 23rd, 2011
7:10 pm

Haha gawd that’s lame. You call that sh&t tradition??

5150 UOAD

September 23rd, 2011
7:14 pm

GDBurdell

You know your Stolen and Bast..dized REAL name sake(GPBurdell) made the You Tube video for the UNC V TECH game?
Now he has talent. you sir are just a Jack..f

Supersize that order, mutt

September 23rd, 2011
7:14 pm

I guess it pales in comparison to fans leaving in the 3rd quarter in defeat……like in the Georgia Dome a few weeks ago. Since I’ve seen that happen quite a few times over the years, I guess that’s one of the mutts’ mover valued traditions.

GDBurdell

September 23rd, 2011
7:15 pm

Haha nice how tasteless tek is. “to hell with ga” its like all of the crap tekys are proud of was made up by a 12 yr old. Are ppl in the state of ga just not allowed to have any class whatsoever, wtf is wrong with you guys

(rummmmmble crash boom) ‘nother tekys wet dream of a bridge falling down, happens all the time.

GDBurdell

September 23rd, 2011
7:17 pm

Yes 5150 “urinate on a dog” (right?) the P stands for “weak sauce” isn’t that right

Supersize that order, mutt

September 23rd, 2011
7:17 pm

hmmm, somebody talking about “class” is using the words “crap” and “wtf” Yeah, that’s really classy,

GDBurdell

September 23rd, 2011
7:19 pm

Well supersiz they know how bad you teksters have fu&ked the traffic up down there, how can you blame them

GDBurdell

September 23rd, 2011
7:20 pm

Not as classy as having “hell” in 5ft letters hung on a dam academic building

GDBurdell

September 23rd, 2011
7:22 pm

Talk about a weak azz tradition that gdburdell horsesh&t is some seriously stupid bs

5150 UOAD

September 23rd, 2011
7:27 pm

HAHAAHAHA
It has been good enough to get you worked up. And UGA has to Hell With Tech in their stolen song too. I used to go to UGA games just to learn new Curse Words to impress my navy buddies.

5150 UOAD

September 23rd, 2011
7:30 pm

GDB
Be happy the last 3 Governors of Georgia are all UGA grads and 2 from the same FRAT. 2 Republicans and 1 Democrat. Tech grads couldn’t mess up this state worse than the UGA Grads have been doing.

Supersize that order, mutt

September 23rd, 2011
7:32 pm

I don’t recall seeing the word “hell” on any building. And like 5150 said, “to hell with Georgia Tech” is in the mutts’ fight song, so what’s your beef? And you might not like the G P Burdell tradition, but it is nationally known and has been talked about by many sportscasters through the years.

And this “classy” troll continues to use filthy language. GD, you’re just another worthless piece of redneck trailer trash.

19

September 23rd, 2011
8:06 pm

GD, what’s wrong? Is it your team’s blog about the “barn burning down” mess! Coming over here to comment on the times and traditons of the cohesive school in the state seems strange! Are you “Stranger than Murphy”? Be honest! Did you get a “major award”? If you did then please place it next to your mattress, where it should be. Let it Go, just let it go! I’m not talking about a sandwich, but something completely different. What’s the good word?
Go Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets!!!

Hector Alejandro

September 23rd, 2011
9:01 pm

I have a photo of the now famous event:

http://flic.kr/p/6Wcji7

Feel free to use it however you want as long as there is attribution.

duece coupe

September 23rd, 2011
9:26 pm

When Coach Paul Johnson says go, — you go.

Rise and Fall of the 3rd Richt

September 23rd, 2011
11:20 pm

don’t think CPJ was hollering, he just needed the wreck driver to go

RamblingReck

September 23rd, 2011
11:37 pm

I was the driver of the Reck in 1965. We took it to a couple of away games including the Gator Bowl. Our first away game was at Vanderbilt. We took it up to Nashville in a U-Haul truck. There were four of us in the cab, myself, my assistant and our girlfriends. They gave us sideline passes for our girlfriends. It was a night game, and we went to dinner in the Reck. The car was garaged near the old reactor. I don’t think it was a big secret, but I don’t remember worrying a lot about vandalism. Fortunately, my year of stewardship passed without any incidents. I would love to ride in the car when I go back for my 50th in a few years.

If do right, no can defense

September 24th, 2011
12:39 am

@Hector: Great pic, man. I was lucky enough to get a chance to sit in the Reck during my freshman year… what a tradition.

chief oseola

September 24th, 2011
7:06 am

Ken thanks so much for info, Down here in fla we are allowed on ly to read about
the gators, big whooppee. as far as traditions, the ramblin wreckis great, second only to chief oseola riding renegade onto midfield. Both are certainly better than watching some bimbo cheerleaer lead a drooling fat bulldog to the sidelines.

piss boy

September 24th, 2011
8:19 am

If any rednecks are interested, Walgrens has THUGA t’s on sale 2 for 5$. Walmart can’t touch dat.

Since Bobby Dodd Retired

September 24th, 2011
10:03 am

Tech has.
Zero major bowl wins, 2 Top 10 finishes, 1 conference championship, as many 1 win seasons as 10 wins seasons, .539 winning %,12-32 vs Georgia

GTRules

September 24th, 2011
10:07 am

UGA has better traditions.
The hedges… wait, stolen from Auburn.
The G logo… wait, stolen from the Packers.
The fight song… wait, stolen from Gen Sherman.

headley lamar

September 24th, 2011
10:11 am

GT appears to be a well oiled offensive machine but I think your big numbers are more a result of who you played rather than an indicator of what you have.

Exactly right.

If North Carolina is prepared for the gimmick offense they should do fine.

WHAT?

September 24th, 2011
10:12 am

Ummm, Since Bobby Dodd Retired has a serious problem with facts. Winning a bowl to win the National Championship is a Major Bowl, right? Oh, yea didn’t even mention the National Championship in the “facts”….

Poor little guy probably only has a 6th grade education, so you can’t really blame him.

headley lamar

September 24th, 2011
10:12 am

Tech’s trickery a winning strategy

Paul Johnson may tweak this or add that to a play. So far, it’s resulted in wins for the Jackets.

But not against Georgia LOL

Delbert D.

September 24th, 2011
10:13 am

Ken – Great work on your blogs. Your efforts to make them interesting and informative really show.