It’s Almost Football Season!!!!! Dawgs on Top!

Less than a month to go.  I’m a kid who just celebrated Thanksgiving and is already sleepless at the thought of Santa’s impending visit.  On August 30 at 12:30 pm Eastern, my beloved University of Georgia Bulldogs (hereafter known as “the Dawgs” will kick off their 2008 season against Georgia Southern.  You will find me either glued to the TV or downstreaming Larry Munson’s audiocast, or perhaps both.  As a warm up, enjoy this article from Cary Estes, a contributor to NBCSports.com.  I like the way this guy writes!  The message isn’t half bad, either.

\”Georgia great, but it\’s still easy to doubt Dawgs\” from NBC Sports

If you don’t enjoy gushing over the gridiron, be forewarned regarding the next 5 months.  I love football.  I live for football.  My father started working part-time for the UGa Athletic Department when I was 1.  When he retired from there, I was married and had 3 kids.  Bulldog sports wasn’t just entertainment; it put food on our table.   It paid for the little extras.  It got my brothers and me out of school on the Friday before the Georgia-Florida football game the first weekend of November every year (although, since the SEC went to 12 teams, the game has been moved to the last Saturday in October).

Thanks to Daddy’s position with UGAAA, I got to meet my first celebrity outside of UGa Athletics.  In 1976, the Dawgs were on their way to their first SEC championship in 8 years.  They had fired up the fans the year before by labeling Defensive Coordinator Erk Russell‘s squad the “Junkyard Dog Defense,” taking the name from the last line of the chorus of Jim Croce‘s #1 hit song, “Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown.”  The Godfather of Soul, James Brown (an Augusta native and a HUGE Bulldog fan), wrote his own anthem to celebrate the Dawgs’ athletic achievements and to, in his own unique way, wave the flag of the Bulldawg Nation.  He was to perform his song, “Dooley‘s Junkyard Dogs,” named in honor of the beloved (and later legendary) head coach, during the halftime show.

I just happened to find a video of James Brown’s performance on YouTube.  I was there, and thanks to the kind soul who not only had the forethought to film it, but the generosity to post it.  Enjoy, sports fans!

Since Daddy had to be at the Gator Bowl Stadium 2 hours before the gates opened, so did we.  Mom was letting my older brother and me (my oldest brother was in the Army by that time) burn off steam by walking laps around the empty stadium.  We happened to look down, and I saw for the first time in my life a limousine.  I thought it was the biggest, fanciest thing I had ever seen.  There was a small group of people gathered around a man in the flashiest red suit I had ever seen.  Amazingly, Mom took us downstairs to meet James Brown himself!  He was in a jovial, generous mood and spoke very kindly to this 12-year-old white chicklet who wasn’t fully aware at the time of the greatness she was meeting.  He even autographed my game-day program, right above the Jack Davis (another illustrious–pardon the pun–Bulldog alum who gives back during football season) cartoon that was the cover art.  I still have that program–I was looking at it just last week.  I really need to frame that thing.

You know, the Redcoat Band still plays exerpts from both songs during football games!  “Leroy Brown” gets played after a great defensive play, and “Dooley’s Junkyard Dawgs” usually before or after the game, even though Coach Dooley retired as Head Coach after the 1988 season and as Athletic Director after the 2004 season.

There are more Tales to tell about Life, the Universe, and the Bulldogs, but I’ve got the whole season to tell them.  For now, all problems are overshadowed by the fact that the USA Today Coaches’ Poll put my beloved Dawgs at #1 in the preseason!  Life is good!  How ’bout them Dawgs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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