Brad Stephens brings his own Southern flavored sports perspective and humor to Bartow Sports Zone. He is a Bartow County native and has his own law office in Cartersville, but he's mostly a Georgia Bulldogs' football fan.
I have a female friend from London, England who once coined the term, “horrible weekend of sport.” She is a lifelong Tottenham Hotspur fan, a Premier League soccer team known lately for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. According to her, it is a punishing lifestyle that yields much sorrow and more focus on which pub will be the venue to watch the failure take place. The crowd gathers with the knowledge that eventually, the glad tidings will be erased in a hail of goals by the other team. I guess if you are going to lose, you need to make sure the fish ‘n chips are palatable.
There is no clear definition of this term other than a period of time, encompassing Friday evening to Sunday evening, where your favorite team(s) sucks the life out of you in humiliating losses. We have all had horrible weekends of sport, but this weekend was especially horrible for yours truly. A wasteland of fandom, a landfill of sadness and despair that has left me wondering: “would Taco Mac be a suitable place to watch games from now on?”
You see, I am starting to focus more on who has the best chicken wings and the most televisions. Which place is closer to the house. The most convenient spot to pick up and leave to find other forms of entertainment as quickly as possible. Saturdays have become a day of dread, followed by Sundays of woe. What a sad existence.
It all started on Friday at 12:17 p.m. I decided that I would make the drive to Rome, Georgia later on that evening to see Cass finally make the playoffs after a nine-year drought. Settling into my seat at Barron Stadium, I thought maybe I would witness a breakthrough. I did see a breakthrough; that much is certain. All I saw was Rome – breaking through the offense, defense and special teams with a vengeance. The Wolves invented new ways to score touchdowns and my poor alma mater could do nothing to stop them.
It did not help that during the game, one of my esteemed friends of the Cane persuasion kept texting me the Cartersville-Lafayette score. “7-0, 14-0, 21-0, Lafayette might as well go home at halftime.” That game went exactly the opposite of what I saw in Rome that night. I am no fair-weathered bum, but when the scoreboard reads “28-0” and the fans are talking amongst themselves about hair appointments, getting overtime at the Shaw plant and the differences in gas prices in Cartersville and Blue Ridge – it is time to go. An inauspicious beginning that was the starting gun of a horrible weekend of sport.
I had no crazy hopes that the Dawgs would be victorious on Saturday. Somebody sent me a hype video for the game, complete with Larry Munson calls, and I had zero reaction. When Larry’s voice does not stoke the fires in my soul and make me want to run through a cinder block wall, there is something wrong. I watched Lindsay Scott dash down the sideline, Dooley following him and the fans mob him as he pulled up and raised his fists in the end zone…..and nothing happened. That is a first for me, even during the Ray Goff days.
The game was a horrid three-hour movie that Siskel &Ebert would give two thumbs down. It was like “Gigli” mixed with “Waterworld” and “Battlefield Earth.” There were big names, big budgets and big paying crowds there to see what was in store. All the emotion, all the high stakes and pressure were in place. Yet, an egg the size of Sri Lanka was laid and the Georgia faithful headed back to the Peach State in droves prior to the final horn. Who could blame them?
Personally, I witnessed about ten minutes of the game, mostly by accident. Being unable to accept this unhappy fate, I watched anything and everything else to ignore what I had already played in my mind. The Gator Bowl (I will never call this place Everbank Field, it’s sacrilege) covered in Orange and Blue, the Chomp and “Go Gators!” every twelve seconds along with dejected Georgia people sitting next to them, staring into space and trying to envision the quickest way out of Jacksonville.
The final score notwithstanding, this game was over before it started. Tickets were being sold at face value in the Atlanta area, nobody really wanted to go. We started a third-string quarterback that was beaten out by two players who have been slightly north of abysmal this season. ESPN mentioned the game a few times, but mostly referencing the famous tailgating that occurs and Will Grier’s “drug problem.” The country could not care less about the Georgia-Florida game of 2015.
So, here we are. This “long, strange trip” has taken a turn for the surreal. We have not scored a touchdown since October 10th and the Kentucky game is now in question. The saddest part? I have come to expect it and have accepted our apparent complacency to finish second or third in the SEC East. How much longer can Georgia fans accept Liberty Bowl bids and egg-layings like those against Alabama and Florida?
I have been a Richt apologist for years, but he is becoming a common denominator. Changes have been made across the board and the program continues on the same path from 2009 – the one to mediocrity and irrelevance. I would rather watch a car rust on Cassville Road than continue to have my hopes dashed like this. The 2015 season could go down as one that initiated a change, maybe one that can eliminate such horrible weekends of sport like the one I just witnessed.
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