... charming, delightful & peachy keen

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Glory Glory To 'Ole Georgia


(photo via Red and Black)

Traditions Monday: Why I Go Back To Athens

I’ll admit it: I am a lifelong Georgia Bulldog fan. I graduated from our state’s flagship university in 1984.

My wife and oldest son are also UGA graduates, and my youngest son is a student there. Attending Georgia football games in the fall has been a Murphy family tradition since the Herschel Walker years. The team has seen its ups and downs and has hit a bit of a dry spell the past couple of seasons.

I was in Athens earlier this fall and had to endure yet another disappointing loss - this time to Arkansas. So why do I do this to myself?

Why do I make the four-hour trek down I-16 and Ga. 15 five or six weekends a year to immerse myself in frustration and regret?

It came to me when I was running at 7 a.m. on the day after the game. I ran past North Campus, down through the J-school and Reed Quad, past the Tate Center and on to Myers Quad, where I lived as a freshman. I then circled up past the Science Library, my left knee aching a bit as I hit the incline up Ag Hill, before heading back down past BioSciences and Chemistry and Physics/Astronomy.

“I love this place,” I thought.

And that was it - my little epiphany. It’s not about the game. Never has been.

I ran past a row of maple trees outside of the Chemistry building. I carved my wife’s initials in one of them when we were dating back in the day. They were mere saplings then; they are 50 feet tall now. I paused a moment to run my fingers over those rough letters.

I gazed upon the giant ground sloth skeleton in the Science Library - first found on Skidaway Island, it became a curious touchstone for me when I was homesick as a freshman. I jogged through Myers Quad, where I saw R.E.M. perform when we were all still students, and first thought, “Hey, they’re actually pretty good!”

I peered up at the silver dome gleaming above Park Hall, where I took graduate-level English classes with the one-of-a-kind Dr. Bufkin. The J-School plaza was where I called my mom from a pay phone one bright and sunny afternoon to get my MCAT scores and exclaimed after hearing them, “I just got into med school!”

It was at the University of Georgia that I saw “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” one Saturday night after midnight and debated health care reform (even then!) at the Demosthenian Literary Society.

We drank sangria and played video games on Fridays at the Dawg House, engaged in campus-wide snowball fights when classes were cancelled due to blizzards, club-hopped, road-tripped and watched a few years of great Georgia football featuring guys named Herschel, Buck and Lindsay and Freddie.

As I completed my run - a full 30 years after my freshman year on the beautiful UGA campus - the sun came up over the horizon, the birds sang and I thought, “This could be 1980 all over again.”

Except that it wasn’t. A generation and a half of UGA students have come and gone since then.

I saw a young coed in skinny jeans, her long hair pulled back into a ponytail, struggling up the steps to the Science Library with an over-stuffed backpack, and I wanted to stop her. I wanted to tell her that life was too short, that she should revel in this moment, that she should enjoy every second of college because she’s going to spend the rest of her life trying to get back to this point, right here. And she’ll fail, because once it’s over, it’s over. Everything else is an imitation, a sham, a mirage.

I didn’t speak to her. She probably would have sprayed me with mace, or, at bare minimum, called campus security about the creepy old 40-something dude in running shorts who accosted her.

But she made me realize why I come to Athens.

It’s not the football.

It’s the memories - of a time when the whole world lay before us, when the possibilities were endless, when we pushed the envelope of what we thought we were capable of and ruptured it egregiously. It’s a reminder of the carefree nature of youth, of the ability to lose oneself in the collective delirium of a brilliant football play in Sanford Stadium, of the hedonistic pleasures of a simple glass of wine with a good meal and good friends while the young and the beautiful cavort mindlessly about, unconcerned about tomorrow because of the limitless possibilities of tonight.

A pilgrimage to Athens unearths recollections of the intellectual and personal discoveries that made me the man I am today.

I go to Athens because it reminds me of why we are alive.

And it makes me grateful for the blessings I have been granted in this great country, and through my wonderful alma mater.

God bless you, Athens. Because of you, for a few weekends a year, I am young again.

Mark E. Murphy, M.D., is a Savannah physician and writer.

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Band of Horses - Georgia (Cee-Lo cover ft The University of Georgia Redcoat Marching Band)

This is awesome, and I wish we had done something this great when I was in the Redcoats

Georgia, you’ll always be home to me. Georgia, I belong to you and yes you belong to me. When they ask me where i’m from, i’m proud to say that i’m your son.”

I’ve been in love with Cee Lo’s ‘Georgia’ but Band Of Horses, accompanied by UGA’s Redcoat Marching Band, just blew my mind with their version! Little known fact about South Carolina’s own Ben Bridwell (BOH’s lead singer): he’s a pretty big Dawg fan:

Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses recalls the genesis of the “Georgia” single: This began as a very random idea i had on my Dad’s patio after we watched our beloved Georgia Bulldog football team get robbed of a win at the hands of referees and LSU last year. I knew I wanted to pay homage to my favorite team in song but didn’t have any idea how to begin. Once I heard Cee Lo’s ‘Georgia,’ I was immediately smitten and figured that’s as good as any tribute to any state I’ve ever heard. It wasn’t until I heard his cover of our song that it occurred to me: Duh, we should return the favor. Incorporating the Redcoat Marching Band was just the icing on the cake! This song is so nostalgic to me as my parents grew up in Atlanta and have so many family members in the great state of Georgia. It’s always been a second home of sorts. We’ve played some great shows there as well, including our run of annual New Year’s Eve shows in Atlanta 2007-2009.”

You can buy the single here btw. Hopefully we’ll here The Redcoats play ‘Georgia’ in Sanford soon.

Go Dawgs!

  • 14th August
  • 14

UGA Tailgate Menus

UGA Tailgating

Three weeks folks. Just three weeks until the best time of year commences…Football Season in Athens, Georgia! Technically i’ll be kicking off the first Gameday in Tuscaloosa with my hubby & his family, but lets not dwell on minor delays right? ;)

With the exception of a Bulldawg Cocktail for 2010 (still working on it & would appreciate some help please), our tailgate menus are finalized! We rotate menus so it doesn’t get boring & have special menus for early kickoffs. I’m including them below with links to all the recipes in case you want to make some of these dishes for yourself.

Menu #1

Menu #2

Early Kickoff Menu

Leave a comment if you have any questions or have some recipes of your own you’d like to share. Go Dawgs!!!