Can you feel it?
Today marks the unofficial start of the Georgia Bulldogs football season as the Stinchcombe brothers and David Greene put on the Countdown to Kickoff fan day at the Woodruff Practice Fields in Athens.
Unfortunately, I can’t be there today, but if you are in the vicinity this afternoon from 3 to 6 p.m., I encourage you to swing by. Tickets cost $25 and benefit a group of children’s charities, and it’s generally a fun day (even with the occasional thunderstorm). You can meet and get autographs from the current players (if last year is anything to go by, the line for A.J. Green will be WAY long) as well as Dogs from the past, and the Redcoats and cheerleaders and Hairy Dawg are on hand. Lots of activities for the kids, too.
Next up will be all the coverage from SEC Media Days and then the Dogs open preseason practice on July 31 and we can keep our fingers crossed that nobody tears anything and we don’t end up with half the team limping around with strained hamstrings.
For me personally, the preseason excitement really starts to build in mid-August when I spend a few vacation days at the family homeplace in Athens and my daughter and I make our annual trek to the UGA Bookstore so she can stock up on school supplies and posters and we can get some new Dawgwear for the whole family. That always ends up costing a bundle, but school is usually in session by then and the hustle and bustle of Tate Plaza is a great way to fall in love with the school all over again.
As most of you know, I grew up in Athens and still spend a lot of time there. But there’s something different about that August visit. The sorority rushees are all looking pretty in their sundresses and various student groups have tables set up advocating this and that, and you can spot the freshmen by the sort of dazed look they have.
I remember standing on Sanford Bridge looking into the empty stadium with my then junior high age son and asking him, “Can you see yourself here?” His excited “yeah!” wasn’t really a surprise, of course, since he’d been following the Dogs since he was a preschooler. But I got a kick out of it. He went on to earn two degrees from UGA and is living in D.C. now. But he’s already planning his trip to Colorado to see Georgia play and which games he’ll be flying home to attend in Athens.
Hopefully, my daughter also will wind up at UGA in a couple of years. I have a hard time imagining it any other way, what with the track record of both her parents, her uncles and her brother.
For us, the University of Georgia and following the Dawgs is a family thing. Always has been and always will be.
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