Sometimes an innocent question sends you down a path you never envisioned.
The one that threw my whole weekend for a loop came last Friday, when I was looking to stock up on drinks. One of our local grocery store managers, who secured my business for the foreseeable future, stopped me cold.
“Want to go to the SEC championship game?”
After the initial shock, I finally was able to respond.
Less than 24 hours later, I was in Atlanta watching Alabama again rally in the fourth quarter, behind its backup quarterback, to beat Georgia 35-28. It was one of the best games of the season and I was there because I had a hankering for Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi.
Most are probably wondering why a life-long Tennessee Vols fan would want to go see the Crimson Tide and Bulldogs battle for SEC supremacy. It’s a valid question.
It was refreshing being able to enjoy a competitive, tense game without having any skin in the game. And that was before I would realize my entertainment for the night – an obnoxious, extra-loud Georgia fan sitting right behind me.
This guy was the Groot of Georgia fans. He only seemed to know two words, “Go Dogs,” and he used them to convey every emotion he felt.
Because I was just as interested in people watching as I was the game, I started to get a sense of what his “Go Dogs,” cheers meant. By the end of the game, I was bilingual with a firm grasp of the Bulldog language.
In many ways, he said everything I’d want to say about the game. In fact, here’s a play-by-play of how he described it.
“Go Dogs, sic’em” – This meant, “go tackle them.” This was the first thing he said at kickoff and repeated every defensive play.
“Go Dogs! Go Dogs!” – These rapid-fire chants came just after Georgia intercepted Alabama Heisman favorite Tua Tagovailoa on the Tide’s opening drive. They loosely translate to, “excellent play, ol’ chap.”
“Go DAAAAAAWGS!” – He was saying, “We’re going to win,” when D’Andre Swift ran wide open and caught an 11-yard touchdown to put Georgia ahead 21-7.
“GRRRR Go Dogs!” – The simmering growl of an angry dog was his way of showing his disapproval with referees after they ruled Josh Jacobs recovered his own fumble for an Alabama touchdown (For the record, he used more words here – none that are printable).
“Go Dogs” – This was said with a whimper, almost like how Scooby Doo would let out a “ruh, roh”, when Alabama scored 21 unanswered points in the second half to take a 35-28 lead.
“(go dogs)” – It’s what I assume he was thinking when he walked out of the stadium in silence when Fromm’s Hail Mary fell incomplete and the Bulldogs lost.