that numb feeling

BEING A CRAZED FAN OF THE WINNING SIDE IS JUBILANT, EXULTANT AND SEVERAL OTHER BIG WORDS THAT MEAN GOOD. THE COLLECTIVE CONSCIOUSNESS OF YOUR SIDE WILLING THE HOME TEAM TO VICTORY IN A CLOSE GAME IS THE EPIPHANY FOR A FAN. NOT JUST YOUR TEAM…YOUR SCHOOL, YOUR IDENTITY. WHEN GEORGIA WINS A HOME GAME, WE WIN AND CELEBRATE. WHEN GEORGIA WINS A ROAD GAME, WE HAVE A SPECIAL SENSE OF WHAT OUR TEAM ACCOMPLISHED, BUT I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT THAT HERE TODAY. AND I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT HOME WINS TODAY. AND I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT ROAD LOSSES – INEVITABLE IN EVERY SPORT ON EVERY LEVEL. WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT HERE IS THAT GNAWING, NUMB FEELING WHEN GEORGIA LOSES A HOME GAME. THAT “I WISH I COULD FIGHT MYSELF” SENSE OF DOOM AND GLOOM. THAT OTHER END OF THE SPECTRUM, BOTTOM OF THE BARREL, CRYFEST, MOANFEST, WHINEFEST THAT EVERY ONE OF US HAS SAT THROUGH MORE TIMES THAN WE CARE TO REMEMBER.

THE FOLLOWING HOME DEFEATS STILL HAUNT MY MEMORY FOR VARIOUS REASONS. ALL OF OUR LOSSES DO SO THERE COULD BE A MUCH LONGER LIST, BUT I WILL NEVER FORGET MY PERSONAL EMOTIONS DURING AND AFTER THESE NOT SO SHINY MOMENTS:

-GEORGIA COMING OFF A BREAKTHROUGH WIN AGAINST FLORIDA IN COACH DONNAN’S SECOND YEAR WAS A WIN AWAY FROM THE SEC TITLE GAME. OUR SISTER SCHOOL FROM EAST ALABAMA DASHED THOSE HOPES IN A HIGH-SCORING AFFAIR MEMORABLE FOR THE OVERCROWDING IN AND AROUND THE STADIUM. THE NIGHT AIR WAS ELECTRIC. THE DAWGS WERE NOT. THE AUBURN FANS GAVE US HELL (I DID NOT TAKE IT VERY WELL).

-LSU GOT WHAT WAS COMING TO THEM THE WEEK BEFORE, AND WE NOW OWNED THE BIG ORANGE. NOT WITHOUT A RUNNING GAME OR THE ABILITY TO COVER AND TACKLE. DAVID GREENE HAD BAD TOUCH AND THE HAPPIEST FEET I EVER SAW IN HIS STELLAR CAREER. UT CRUSHED OUR FACES, AND I LATER FELL IN A MANHOLE THAT I FAILED TO NOTICE ON A CONSTRUCTION SITE ON THE WALK TO MY FRIEND’S HOUSE (YES, IT HURT).

-GEORGE GODSEY RUNNNG FREE IN THE GEORGIA SECONDARY, AND MY THEN WIFE REALIZING THE EXACT TYPE OF BAD SPORT SHE HAD CHOSEN TO MARRY. DONNAN DID NOT SURVIVE THIS GAME AS GEORGIA HEAD COACH AND DESERVED TO BE FIRED FOR THROWING SO MANY OBVIOUS AND DEFENDABLE WIDE RECEIVER SCREENS. THE RIDE HOME WENT POORLY (I DID NOT TAKE IT VERY WELL, AND YES, IT HURT).