Advice for a Bulldog dad trying to overcome marriage to a Gator

Time to answer some Junkyard Mail …

Get there early for a good view at the Dawg Walk (AJC file)

Get there early for a good view at the Dawg Walk (AJC file)

Heath Schoenfeld of Vero Beach, Fla., writes: Hey Bill, I’ve gone and done it. I have season tickets for the first time! I live in South Florida and I’ve been to a couple of games here and there since 1997, but now I’ve got 4 seats for each home game and I can’t wait. What would be the best game day routine for my family? Where should we be for the Dawg Walk, when should we get into the stadium, etc.? I am doing my best to make sure my 4-year-old twin sons are Dawgs. You see, my wife and her family are Gators. She went to UF, her sisters when to UF, her parents have season tickets, etc. But at least she’s pretty! Thanks for the great work.

Congratulations, Heath! And kudos for your determination not to let their mother’s blue-and-orange past scar your boys for life.

I’ve written before about my game day routine and favorite game day traditions in Athens, but basically how you approach it depends on whether you’re planning on tailgating.

I don’t know whether you plan on staying in one of the hotels in downtown Athens, but if you do you can simply walk to the game. If not, parking is your first challenge. Most of the free public parking is available on East Campus around the Ramsey Center, off College Station Road. Shuttle bus service is provided from the Ramsey Center. UGA also offers paid parking at various decks and you can even buy a season pass for that. (They’ll go on sale “sometime in July” and while the price hasn’t been set yet, in the past it’s been $20 per game. You can contact Brenda Burke at 706-542-7305 or bcburke@uga.edu for more information.)

There are several paid lots downtown and even a couple that offer tailgating options, and there are quite a few churches and schools along Lumpkin Street and Milledge Avenue that also sell parking by the season or by the game, with the rates ranging generally from $15 to $25 per game. Don’t plan on parking for free in the residential neighborhoods nearest to campus; you’ll get towed. And parking on campus sidewalks and grassy areas also will get you towed.

If you want to tailgate, the restrictions are pretty tight on the old North Campus quads (though they’ve been loosened a bit from last year), but you’re free to go whole-hog anywhere else. But you can’t set up until five hours before kickoff. Most of the younger tailgaters seem to be congregating in the Myers Hall quadrangle these days.

You can find out more about game day rules here and parking options here.

If you don’t want to tailgate, you can eat downtown or grab a burger or hot dog from the tent outside the UGA Bookstore if you don’t want to stand in long lines in the Tate Center cafe. Or you can wait to eat inside the stadium, which usually opens two hours before game time. The new Reed Plaza area offers lots of fast-food options, though the quality is pretty variable.

The Dawg Walk, which I think your kids will really enjoy (probably more so in a couple of years) also is usually around two hours before kickoff (though sometimes the team buses run a bit late). It gets kind of crowded down in the Tate Center parking lot off Lumpkin where the team enters, so if you want a really close-up view you better get there early. There are good vantage points from the Sanford Drive bridge, but again you have to get there early to get a spot where your boys will be able to see. You can also watch from up above on the outdoor plaza area of the new Tate II addition or the parking deck.

If you don’t want to enter the stadium immediately after the Dawg Walk, you can kill some time (and enjoy the air conditioning) watching football on the big screen in the Tate Center movie theater. It’s likely to really be hot as you await that 4:30 kickoff against the Gamecocks, so you might want to get the kids out of the sun until it’s time to go into the stadium.

I like to be at my seat in Sanford by about an hour before kickoff to watch the warm-ups and cheer the players as they walk toward the end zone while the Redcoats play the “Krypton Fanfare.” It’s a goosebump moment for many fans. You definitely want to be seated by at least 15 minutes before kickoff so you don’t miss the Larry Munson video on the scoreboard screen.

As for after the game, don’t be in a hurry to go anywhere (especially if it was a close one and everyone stayed until the end). When my son was young and we parked downtown, I always made a point of taking him by the Chapel to ring the bell. I think your boys would really get a kick out of that.

Game Saturdays in Athens are a lot of fun. Glad to know you’ll be among the 92,746 luckiest folks around come fall!

Anyone have any other game day tips for Heath?

Raildawg  writes: Were you surprised Mark Richt didn’t sign on to Steve Spurrier’s proposal for the head coaches to share some of their wealth with their players? Considering how charitable he is, I thought he’d have been first in line to back a plan to provide money for his players.

No, I wasn’t really. I don’t know what Steve Spurrier’s true motivation was in launching that trial balloon. Maybe he really thinks the coaches paying the players $300 a game out of their own pockets is a good idea. Or perhaps he just wanted a bit of media spotlight or was looking to divert attention away from his giving Stephen Garcia his umpteenth second chance.

But the fact is it wasn’t a realistic proposal and I’m glad Mark Richt didn’t allow himself to be coerced by Spurrier into putting his name on a flashy idea that might have some appeal to the kids but was seriously flawed.

Georgia’s head coach did a pretty good job of explaining in a press release yesterday. “I am all for providing more financial help for our players,” he said. “I’d even go so far as to say I’d be willing to help fund it if there is a way that’s possible. I just don’t believe Coach Spurrier’s idea is feasible. If we’re going to do something like this, we have to do it for all 125 guys, not just 70. That would create all sorts of morale and chemistry problems. Doesn’t everyone practice? Can you imagine trying to decide a dress list knowing that you’d be cutting out 55 guys who are working just as hard every day? Also, if we do this for football, I believe you have to do it for every sport across the board at every level of the NCAA. This is much bigger than SEC football. I’d prefer spending time talking about ideas that have a legitimate chance of becoming reality.”

Well said, coach.

Got a question for the Junkyard Blawg? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

71 comments Add your comment

ga gator

June 3rd, 2011
2:15 pm

schmeckdawg quite cute. My version is just the opposite; I married a Dawg and our seats are in the club section directly behind the goal posts. It is all in fun and I root for the Dawgs every game but the one in Jax. And about the mullets and jorts; well I have seen enough 300 pound men and 200 pound women wearing overalls with dirty stringy hair and UGA garb on to know that UF has no corner on classless fans because we all do. By the way I have heard Buck complain on his radio show that his wife and in-laws are all Gators and one of his boys wears Tebow jerseys.

Still@theBAR

June 3rd, 2011
2:17 pm

Do like ALL DAWGS do and rollover and just lick your self to happiness.

If you are really a Dawg fan...

June 3rd, 2011
2:30 pm

…then you should know that “Uga” is the dog you can pet, and “UGA” is the university – the only way to pet “UGA” is to bend down somewhere on campus and pet the ground…

G8R GRAD

June 3rd, 2011
2:36 pm

NoWay:

Lighten up!
It’s just a shirt and a chair!
Jeez!

UGA sux

June 3rd, 2011
2:44 pm

Why does the St. Johnsriver flow north?
‘Cause Georgia sucks!

Still@theBAR

June 3rd, 2011
3:34 pm

Enter your comments here

THE TRUTH

June 3rd, 2011
3:47 pm

Spurrier just loves attention. Bottom line.

1eyedJack

June 3rd, 2011
4:15 pm

This blog is terrible for losing posts. Bill, they got you segregated on the old server?

SouthGA Dawg

June 3rd, 2011
5:32 pm

I dont know what the big deal is Auborn has been paying their players for years.

SouthGA Dawg

June 3rd, 2011
5:44 pm

Yes, thats AUborn

Bill King

June 3rd, 2011
7:10 pm

1eyed:

If a post doesn’t appear, it usually means it’s been caught in the spam filter for some reason. A lot of times it’s because a forbidden word has been used. Other times the filter finds a URL included in the comment to be not to its liking.

bardawg

June 3rd, 2011
7:32 pm

You have my condolenses brother dawg , the little head sure makes you do what rational man otherwise would’nt

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

June 3rd, 2011
8:20 pm

Bill

Why dont you ask the crew that does the past UGA highlights to put something different than Herschel running over Bill Bates. Frankly that wasnt his best highlight

He had several of those runs against other teams.

How about when he ran 86 yds for a touchdown against SC while blowing everyone away

Try downtown parking for minimum of $40 a game

June 3rd, 2011
11:07 pm

Bill, you missed it. Downtown parking is $40, even sometimes $60. Price gouging to say the least. When my father was taking me to football games (from Macon, GA after midget football games), we would drive from Macon to Athens (in a ‘73 Coup De Ville) and my mother would make pimento cheese sandwiches (occasionally Ham) and she would spread a checkered blanket over the back of the Cadillac and we would enjoy the tailgate in the Coliseum Parking lot for free.

Where did those days go? Too much greed in this game today; I don’t even get chills walking to Sanford Stadium anymore (this used to happen to me as an 8,10,12, and 14 year-old b/c I could hear the Redcoat Band playing under the bridge and I could hear the roar of the crowd (including the folks on the tracks, of course). Today, it’s nothing but a hurried bunch of drunks who don’t care about showing up at game time; they’d rather pretend like it’s the freaking Steeplechase (i.e., social event where I can try to impress people or who know what…).

Bottom line: I want college football back. I want the Junkyard Dawgs back. Heck, give me Erk or bust!

MBA Terry and loyal fan since I was able to poop in a cloth diaper in 1966.

It don't mattah, Redcoat Band!

June 4th, 2011
12:29 am

Bill the “Krypton Fanfare” performance when the players walk towards the stands you’re referring to may not happen next year. Expect some changes from the Redcoats.

Hey Dawgs Fans...

June 4th, 2011
4:07 am

4:30 Kickoff….really????

It Ain't Rocket Science

June 4th, 2011
10:24 am

Antler man,

It shows that CMR uses common sense and thinks out things. He just doesn’t blindly buy into a idea brought up by somebody else. If you can not see the flaws in Spurriers idea, then you must really not be thinking over all about what he proposed. You would have no way to monitor the whole practice and if you believe there wouldn’t be a lot of abuse potential , then you must believe that the SEC’s coaches are all honest men, with the thought of trying to get away with something, a far away thought in their minds. There is enough play for pay going on as it is, with the present rules.

No Gators

June 4th, 2011
10:47 am

My neighbor is a Gator alumnus. She voted for Obama. I don’t know which is worse.

Pago Pago Dawg

June 4th, 2011
10:55 am

Wow, having a neighbor voting for osama and being a gator. That’s as low as it can get.

Les Miles = winner; CMR = not so much

June 4th, 2011
11:10 am

can’t understand the hatred of Florida by you d/a Gawga fans…figured you would be stump-broke by now!!!

avoidance is best

June 5th, 2011
5:00 pm

Why would you waste money, as a Florida resident, sending your kids to a half-ass school like UGA and pay out of state tuition? If you want them to be the poorest kids working at Big 10 Tire worshipping ugly inbred European canines, I apologize.

And don’t take 4-year-olds to a college football game, especially when it’s hot. They won’t watch the game, they’ll whine incessantly when you don’t buy them candy and bother everyone around them, and eventually you’ll have to leave the game early.