Another UGA fan and I were talking recently about how much we were looking forward to the start of another football season (51 days and 19 hours away as I write this) and we got onto the subject of our favorite game day traditions.
His favorite was the Dawg Walk, with the Redcoats playing and the team walking past the fans gathered in the Tate Center parking lot. I admit that’s a good way to get pumped up for a game if you’ve got a good vantage point, but it’s kind of difficult to see unless you snag a front row spot, so that’s never been a must for me. Even with the Dawg Walk Overlook that’s planned for between the new Tate II and the Alumni Development Center to be built next to Lumpkin, it’s still going to be tough to get a good view.
For kids, seeing the parade of UGA buses carrying the players down Lumpkin Street with their police escort is pretty exciting and I admit that even now I still wave as they go by, but that’s just like a teaser as I start walking to the stadium from the church where I park.
Watching the Redcoats march into the stadium with their chant is one of my favorite game day traditions (I like to get to my seat at least an hour before kickoff). Ain’t nothing finer in the land!
I still think the Redcoats scrambling onto the field for their pregame show is fun, and another popular and thrilling moment is the pregame Larry Munson recording and the footage of Dawgs past and present on the big video screen. I love how the fans never tire of cheering Herschel running over Bill Bates. The countdown to the kickoff is another great bit, though I liked it better when they used “Baba O’Riley” to back the video montage, and the excitement really hits a fever pitch there, especially for a big game. (I’ve never understood folks who don’t get to the game in time for the kickoff … or, for that matter, those who leave a game early when the Dawgs are winning!)
During the game, the crowd holding up four fingers at beginning of the fourth quarter may be a common tradition shared by a lot of schools, but it can be a special moment in a close game, especially if you really sense the Dawgs have victory within reach. And when my son was young and we parked downtown, I always got a kick out of taking him by the Chapel to ring the bell. We don’t go that way any more, though, and while the video screen footage of Hairy Dawg ringing the bell was kind of fun to start with, the fact that he’s not actually at the Chapel ringing the bell makes it ring a little hollow, so to speak.
No, my two favorite bits of game day tradition both come before the game. One is after the team has finished its initial warm-up, gathers at midfield and walks deliberately toward the east end zone while the Redcoats play the “Krypton Fanfare” and the crowd gets on its feet and roars. That gets me every time.
And then there’s the solo trumpeter kicking off what they now call the “Battle Hymn of the Bulldog Nation” (still a slowed down “Glory to Old Georgia” to me) from the southwest corner of the upper level of the stands. If that doesn’t give you goosebumps, you’re definitely not of the Red and Black persuasion!
What’s your favorite game day tradition? Tell us in the comments, vote in the poll or do both. Go Dogs!