Georgia Football: A strong family is everything and more

Lewis Cine of the Georgia Bulldogs tackles Malik Davis. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
Lewis Cine of the Georgia Bulldogs tackles Malik Davis. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) /

What will this season be like for Georgia football? What will the season be like the year after Georgia finally wins that long hoped for national championship? That’s the question I’ve been asking myself for over a year now.

Would I still be as excited for each game? Would the anticipation be the same? Would I get nervous every time the Dawgs took the field? Would I even care if we lost?

I wanted to see that national championship so, so badly. I’ve always been that “next year will be our year” person. And last year, I truly believed it. I kind of think I knew. Oh, I had plenty of doubts, a whole stadium’s worth. But part of me just knew it was our year.

After Georgia won it, what would football be like — finally achieving that which I had hoped for for so long, what would the next season be like?

Georgia football finally got over the hump, and that win begins a new chapter.

Several months ago I decided that I would try to answer those questions that I had been wondering for so long. I’d write an article shortly before the season trying to explain what this season may or may not feel like. But that was before this summer.

You see, here’s the thing. I love football. I love the game, the atmosphere, the rivalries, the storied traditions, the silly superstitions, all of it. But my favorite part has always been the stories. The stories about players, teams, and fans, and how they’re all connected, bonding and coming together over this game we love. Because at its heart, that’s what football is really about— family.

And my family is the reason I love football so much. All of my immediate family, siblings and parents, bleed Red and Black. We’re all diehard Dawg fans largely because of my mom, although my dad loves the Dawgs too.

But my extended family is not quite so blessed, with different family members supporting Auburn, Alabama, and of course the Florida Gators. Sometimes this makes for a slightly tense family Christmas party after the SEC Championship Game, with the unspoken agreement that we all try not to bring it up.

No shade towards the other family members, but in recent years, the Gators have been some of the nicest in our football discussions. They’ve been humbled lately and some of them love my family so much that football easily takes a backseat to us.

Well this summer was a hard one for my family. We lost one of our favorite Gators. And he wasn’t just one of those family members that you have to see at family functions. He was a really good friend. We talked all the time. We talked about movies and projects and stories and of course, football.

We could go at each other for a long time, texting jabs back and forth, knowing that it was okay if we might go a little too far because the person on the other end knew that it was all in good fun and that at the end of the day we loved each other.

This same Gator once tried to tell me that God himself was a Gator fan because of a picture he saw of a gator cloud. I told him that was ridiculous. Of course God was a Georgia fan. The Gospel was right there in our colors— black for our sin that was covered by the red blood of Jesus. We had a good laugh about that one.

And then these last few years, that Gator fan started cheering for the Dawgs whenever we played Alabama. He knew how much my mom and all of my family wanted to see Georgia win a national title. He said it was about time we won one. We’d been through a lot. And this past season? This past season he even wore red and black for the natty and was happy for us when we won. Because for him, football was great, but family was better.

Honestly, now that he’s gone, I’m not sure if football is ever going to be the same. This season will be very different for sure. A tiny part of me is looking forward to the season, but it’s a very tiny, tamped down part.

I’m sure I’ll be back to being overly excited eventually. Because I love football, I really do. And life unfortunately, and fortunately, must continue on.

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But at the end of the day, football to me is more than just a game. So you’ll have to excuse me if I don’t hate the Gators quite as much this year. While I still bleed Red and Black, a part of my heart will always be orange and blue because football has always been about family.