Glory, Glory to the Return of Georgia Football

Glory, Glory to the Return of Georgia Football

"There is no tradition more worth of envy, no institution worthy of such loyalty, as the University of Georgia."

My freshman year football season was breathtaking. I thought I had loved UGA, but I had no idea how special that school was to me/how excited it made me until I stepped foot in Sanford for the first home game of the year. You spend your whole life watching college football on TV and attending games with your family, but you never truly experience a college gameday until you're standing in the student section, student ID in pocket, cheering as loud as can be.

Picture yourself in your bright red jersey, sweat dripping down your face, with 92,000 of your closest friends. You're dancing your heart out between the hedges, singing "Saturday! Saturday!" as you soak up the most exciting day of the week: Saturday in Athens. And as you call the Dawgs for the 3rd time in 45 minutes, you still can't get over how perfect that moment in time is.

Despite the incredible atmosphere Georgia Football brings, I would like to argue that it isn't the hype videos, Dawg calls, or marching band songs that make Georgia football what it is. It's not the singing of the Alma Mater, the "Georgia" vs. "Bulldogs" scream-off, or the sea of red jerseys throughout the stands: it's the people.

The UGA family is hard to beat. Together, we've mourned the letting go of an incredible coach and excitedly welcomed the start of a new chapter in the Georgia Football story. We celebrated the return of Kirby Smart and experienced the most unexpected of tragedies and have only come out stronger and closer than we were before. And no matter how many ups and downs the UGA family faces, we're still just that: a family.

To most, these facts have nothing to do with football. They're simply a description of the UGA family. However, isn't it the fans that make football season what it is? Yes, a good team helps, and yes, we adore our players and appreciate all of the work they put in. But the Georgia family is special. The Georgia spirit is shown every day of the week, and the anticipation for the next gameday starts the second each game ends.

UGA is special, no one can deny that. And while I would like to say that this experience is this special for every college student in the country, I'd like to argue that the UGA college football experience is different. I'd like to argue that the amount of passion, energy, and heart that the students, alumni, and fans have for this school is unparalleled. And while you may call me "bias," I think you'd completely agree with me if you were to attend a game.As our first home game approaches, I think we can all agree that the Georgia spirit is as high as ever. As we anxiously wait for kickoff, I think we should all take a moment and appreciate how lucky we are to be able to call ourselves Georgia Bulldogs. Football season is back, and I can't imagine being able to cheer for any other team than my boys in Red and Black.

"There is no tradition more worth of envy, no institution worthy of such loyalty, as the University of Georgia." -Larry Munson

Cover Image Credit: UGA Football Live

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.

I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time

Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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