Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I Need Words Stronger Than Hate

Let's talk a bit, you and I, about hate.

It's a fun word to toss around in College Football, because, even if you include Red Sox-Yankees, or Broncos-Raiders, or I dunno, some big hockey rivalry I couldn't care less about (partially because it seems the NHL season lasts from September-til-late-July/early August and I wish sports I actually liked had 11 month+ seasons, as opposed to the four months+change for college football or the more-or-less seven MLB offers if your team makes the postseason. Well, actually baseball season's about the right length.) Around here when we say "hate" we mean it.

For example, I am a Georgia fan.

I hate Florida.

I hate the fact that the vast majority of their fan base has a collective memory shorter than a GOP staffer (well, that might be a bit harsh: Florida fans don't believe football existed prior to 1990, whilst most diehard GOPites reflect so fondly on the Reagan 80s I'm sure their memories look Photoshopped.)

I hate Urban Meyer's smug+smarmy personality, and the fact that his take on player discipline is so lax that when Bobby Bowden gets on the Internets and the eBays to read about it, even he's shocked.

I hate Tim Tebow; for having such a ridiculous last name (yeah, yeah, I know I'm in kind of a glass house position on that); for seemingly epitomizing the streotypical dumb jock in that he "just wants to win" and "doesn't shy away from contact" (while no mention is made of time in the film room--I'm convinced Tebow's about as literate at actually reading a defense as Quincy Carter was, a memory that makes me hate him more.)

Plus he looks like Rex Grossman, whom I also hate (not so much for shredding the UGA D in 2001--that was to be expected, and shredding our pass D alone doesn't inspire hate, as I bear no ill will towards Jerad Lorenzen--but for dinking and dunking us--with help from an offense rendered timid after Shockley's pick 6--out of the 2002 National Championship hunt.

I hate South Carolina for looking average at best since they beat us, and for bringing up a litany of "how did we lose to these douchebuckets again?" almost every time I seen them play.
I also hate them for hiring increasingly reprehensible and annoying coaches, first Holtz, then SOS himself, and also for not raising a big enough stink about Holtz getting them on probation that ESPN would've said "maybe we shouldn't hire this guy..."

I hate Tech for their general collegiate outlook (Viz., that whole "you didn't graduate, you got out" mentality. Of course I've never understood picking a major based solely on potential earnings, regardless of whether you like what you'll be doing. And I also think that if it's that miserable, maybe, just maybe, you're not quite as smart as you thought you were.)

But atop the "hate list", the Great Ziggurat Of Hate (construction on hold thanks to a tanking dollar in such shoddy shape the Canadian dollar is almost its equal) is the team the Dawgs pay a visit to this Saturday afternoon.

If I had to trace this to its roots, I'd only be going back nine years (confession: I'm relatively new to obsessing over sports and fandom. Prior to 1997 I was the guy who would watch big games on tv, such as the 93 FSU-Notre Dame game, and the occasional bowl game, but that's it. At best I was a slightly above lukewarm Braves fan, and my die-hard love of the Hawks ended when 'Nique and Spud Webb were gone.)

This was going to be the year the UT win streak ended (something current students and recent grads may not remember, but UT won more games in succession vs. UGA than any team: even surpassing Goff+Donnan's run of futility against Spurrier.) The Dawgs had knocked of a highly ranked (at the time--it turned out 1998 was also the year LSU fans started coming around to the idea that DiNardo was a lousy coach) LSU team the week before. Tennessee had already lost Peyton Manning to the NFL, and the running back who'd destroyed the Dawgs in Knoxville the previous season, Jamal Lewis, injured his knee against Auburn and would not play in Athens. Tee Martin's play at QB early in the season was about as stellar as UGA's 2006 passing game in the 1st half of the season. ESPN Gameday was coming to Athens.

I had secured tickets near the 50-yard line, on the lower level. It was going to kick ass. I turned down an offer of $275 for my ticket, because I didn't want to miss the Dawgs finally beating UT.

It didn't work out quite as planned, and worse, I was close enough to the UT sideline to see them laughing and jawing with fans. It was the first time I'd seen the Dawgs lose, and it wasn't even as close as the final score (as opposed to The Game That Shall Not Be Named from 2006). If given an extra 8 quarters, the UGA offense might have scored 10 points. Maybe. But probably not. And I hated the players. It took me until 2000 to really understand why so many of my fellow Dawg fans hated Fulmer. But once you see it, it doesn't go away: to Fulmer, UT never gets beat. The other team? Never outplays them. "They" make mistakes (not the coaching staff, "they.") It's that increasingly unjustified air of infallibility about UT and Fulmer that has me digging for words stronger than hate this week. On a rerun of Scrubs they used "megaloathe." That'll do for now.

I megaloathe UT. I wish them ill. I'll say more, but rather than quote from Chappelle's Show anymore, but here, just click this and watch (as I don't think Comedy Central's a fan of letting folk embed vids on their blogs.)

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