I’m very much on record as being a Georgia Tech fan, for “badder” or for worse. I’m also never too shy to talk about how lucky I am to have been born and raised in the greatest state in the union.
So when I was offered tickets to go to Athens to see the Dawgs play, I couldn’t pass them up. My brother told me years ago that as a sports fan, I needed to see a game “between the hedges.”
I saw a few days before the game that it was going to be a “pink out” in honor of Arkansas State’s head coach’s wife, Wendy Anderson, who recently passed away from breast cancer.
I own a pink shirt, so I was good. I asked my wife if she had a pink shirt, and she had one as well. So we were set to see our first Bulldogs game in Athens.
We stopped for gas and I told the attendant we were on our way to Sanford Stadium for the first time. When he said he was happy to see me wearing pink, I knew we were in for a special day.
Our tickets were in the alumni section, better seats than I’ll probably ever have for any game, so we were off to a good start early.
I sat beside a lady who was related to the friend who gave me our tickets. In my mind, that made us friends, and I proceeded to ask her as many questions as I could think of over the course of the game.
She’s 64 years old and has been sitting in those seats her entire life. She lives three minutes away from the stadium but, from her description, they still set up a tailgating area somewhere near the science building – one that would be the envy of any tailgater.
I asked her which was the most exciting game she had ever seen. Without hesitation, she said, “Run, Lindsey, run.” She said it as if I would know exactly what she was talking about. I did not. I’d heard the phrase before and was not surprised to learn that it was from the 1980 season.
I’m guessing the kid to her right was her grandson, and he would chime in with his take as well. He was very happy to tell me all about the backup quarterback, the backup kicker, and anything else a genuine fan of the team would know. He was as kind and cordial as his grandmother.
Most importantly, they were both wearing pink as well.
I’m a Tech fan. I will always be a Tech fan. But I love sports, I love family, I love friends and I love the South. Saturday was a perfect combination of all the above. I got to spend an amazing day with a great example of each.
Tech fan, sports fan, proud Southerner – those are all well and good. But at my most basic, I am a son to my mother, a husband to my wife and a father to my daughter.
Coach Blake Anderson and his family have just gone through a horrible pain any of us could end up facing someday.
That I got to be a part of a sea of strangers who wore pink shirts to let him know that he wasn’t in this life alone was above and beyond anything else I got to experience on Saturday.
That was a classy move, Bulldogs. I am proud to say I was a “Dawg” that day.
Toby Nix is a local writer, guitarist and investigator for the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office. He is the author of two books, “Columns I Wrote” and the newly released “A Book I Wrote.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .