Those fans with tickets to a Georgia Bulldogs home football game this season would do well to start preparing now for what will be a most challenging campaign. You are going to have to come to play.
Your offseason training may include going to a zoning commission meeting and cheering enthusiastically for a non-conforming use permit. Or taking some vanilla pudding in a cup and oohing and ahhing over it like it’s crème brulee. Anything to practice ginning up enthusiasm for the ordinary.
For fans are going to have to provide more than their usual share of color and pageantry to 2017, and carry a far greater load of the energy, given the Bulldogs diluted roster of home games.
App State. Samford. Mississippi State. South Carolina. Kentucky. Find the sis-boom-bah in that collection.
College football is so much about setting, so much about the atmosphere. It's what elevates above the NFL experience. Given a line-up of beige opponents, there appears to be less on that sideline to contribute to the excitement in Athens. The Bulldogs will be counting on you, the paying customer, to entertain yourself while putting on a show for the TV cameras. Kind of like a pro soccer game.
And if that means paying more attention to the semi-responsible day-drinking part of your routine, then so be it.
Georgia Tech people can afford to sit on their hands this summer, what with an opener just around the corner against Tennessee and a closer at home with the Bulldogs. They can relax this summer, content in the knowledge that the occasion will rise to them.
But with the bag of creampuffs and gluten-free pastries the Bulldogs people have been handed, they are required to start steeling themselves now for the difficult task of cheering loudly even if their heart is not completely committed. (And it’s good practice for 2018 as well, with a non-conference home schedule that includes Austin Peay, Middle Tennessee and UMass – each commoner making kingly paydays).
It just shook out this way, that Georgia’s circle-the-schedule games – Notre Dame, Tennessee, Florida (always) and Auburn – are trips. Leaving Sanford Stadium dangerously vulnerable to ennui.
So, fans, this is your season to step up and prove your blind devotion to the product. It won’t be easy, but it is imperative that the spirit of every college football Saturday be protected. Otherwise it’s just a game.
Painting your body in red and black for your next trip to Walmart might prove helpful preparation for the task to come.