In case you’ve been living under a rock, I have news: The Georgia Bulldogs are national champions. Again. Stetson Fleming Bennett IV, yes, that short kid who we all thought would be nothing more than a scout team quarterback, led the Dawgs to an undefeated season, a second straight national title, all while making Texas Christian University look more like the Oglethorpe County Patriots. Honestly, I wouldn’t have been surprised if TCU coach Sonny Dykes asked for a running clock in the second half.
As the confetti fell in LA and Kirby hoisted the big golden trophy, it was great to be a Georgia Bulldog.
As I’ve spent the day basking in the post-championship glow, I’ve reflected more deeply about what it is about this sport and this team that gives us such emotional swings. Why do we care so much about how well some 20-year-olds can throw an odd-shaped ball through the air? Why does this win give such joy — and those losses such pain?
What does it even mean to be a Georgia Bulldog?
We all could answer this question in different ways. For me, growing up near Athens, I learned early on that being a Dawg fan was about way more than wins and losses. After all, I came of age in the Donnan years, when consistent wins and national recognition were hard to come by. Yet even though the wins were fewer and the losses more frustrating, I still loved being a Georgia Bulldog.
See, for me, being a Dawg was about wearing lots of red and black (and avoiding every shade of orange). It’s about eating at Sonny’s BBQ and seeing relics of the 1980s carefully pinned to the walls. It’s about listening to Munson’s gravely, pessimistic voice over the radio, and itching to find out what Loran Smith has to say from the sidelines. It’s about taking preschool field trips to Sanford Stadium, having David Pollack come speak to your FCA, listening to an offensive lineman address your church, or knowing a coach’s son shares a locker with your brother, It’s about seeing people of all stripes come together on Saturday afternoons. It’s about walking past the practice fields to pick up your new wife from class.
For me, being a Dawg is about loving the place I’m from. It’s about a culture, a community, an unspoken bond that connects every person who dons red and black. And it’s only since moving away from Athens that I’ve come to appreciate these things so much. Indeed, for all these reasons, it is great to be a Georgia Bulldog.
So, for me being a Bulldog isn’t about winning; it’s about home.
But, boy oh boy, the winning is fun.
Check that — it’s really, really fun. I never thought I’d experience one national championship, much less two back-to-back. I never thought we’d beat anyone 65-7 — much less in the National Championship game. I never thought “Glory” would be the envy of the college football world.
But here we are — at the peak of the mountain, making history with each and every win. As I try to tell my oldest son, who’s a budding Dawg fan himself, “We’re living in the glory days. Let’s enjoy it while it lasts.”
Because I know the winning won’t last forever. One day, we’ll remember Stetson as fondly as we remembered Herschel. One day, we’ll ache for 2022 as we ached for 1980, with all sorts of memorabilia from these years adorning restaurants across northeast Georgia. One day, someone else will be king of the college football world.
And that’ll be okay. Because then — like now, and like before — it’ll still be great to be a Georgia Bulldog.