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Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate

Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate

I knew we would probably lose. Still, I was hopeful, as always, when Georgia Tech played powerhouse UGA last Saturday night at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. I watched the game at my mother’s Ohoopee home with other family members. UGA prevailed — as usual — but Tech showed up. There was no shame in this year’s loss, and I want to personally give a shout out to the players and to Coach Brent Key. Thanks, guys!

I’ve been hating the “Dawgs” since I was a teenager. My father — an avid sports fan and game watcher — always pulled for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, and so I adopted that stance, too, especially each year when they would play the University of Georgia. My father believed in Tech’s academic prowess, and he dreamed of sending his children to Tech to get one of the finest educations around. My parents worked hard and saved to offer each of us opportunities galore. My brother went to Georgia Tech to study engineering. Then my sister went there and studied management. Then I went there and earned an engineering degree of my own.

It wasn’t a cake walk. I roamed the Atlanta campus for nearly five years in the eighties — all the while questioning myself and wondering if I had what it took to succeed there. I had many allnighters of intense studying and anxiety, whereas my high school friends who went on to the Athens campus shared stories of all-nighters of partying and fun.

I lived in the dormitories just across from the football field, and on game days, my friends and I filed across the street and into the stadium to witness defeat up close and personal. But true fans support their teams t h rough wins and losses, and so I sat on the hard stadium bleachers to the bitter end, ordered a coke with my friends, and occasionally spiked it with a splash of Jack. It made the losses more tolerable.

I stood up and belted out the Georgia Tech fight song a thousand times with a thousand folks who were going through the same thing I was going through. One line of the song includes Tech’s battle cry, “The Heck With Georgia,” but we didn’t say, “Heck,” back then, and we don’t say it now. Anyway, the experience of losing and hating the Bulldogs bound us together for life.

I married a Georgia Tech gradu ate (my husband studied electrical engineering). Two nieces and a nephew also attended.

So I understand the rivalry between Georgia Tech and Georgia better than most people because I’ve lived it my entire life. The annual showdown is a visceral, primordial clash that transcends mere athletic competitions. It’s a blood feud, a frenzied spectacle, our state’s annual civil war, of sorts. And the fans are rabid fanatics who live and die with every hit, fumble and interception, and during the big game, I am one of them.

A few days before the matchup, I start slinging mud and dishing out “clean, old-fashioned hate.” I tease my UGA friends a little, and this year was no exception. On game day, I posted a photo on my Facebook page showing another type of scoreboard — astronauts in space. Georgia Tech has sent 14 astronauts into space, and the University of Georgia has sent zero.

As for football, as it stands today, UGA leads Tech with 71 wins. The Yellow Jackets have only won 41 since the first matchup in 1893. And there have been five ties. There were also two games played (both won by Tech) during World War II that Georgia claims don’t count because many of their players were serving in the military during the time. They are such whiners. Oh please!

UGA’s football team has been such a force the last few decades that it is hard to imagine a time when Georgia Tech will ever come out on top again, but still, I will never lose hope. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

I will continue to wear gold and black with pride, and I admit that I can tolerate an entire football season of losses if we win the most important game — the one that takes place each year, just after Thanksgiving. I am still proud of Saturday’s performance, and I look forward to next year’s game. Until then, my two favorite teams are Georgia Tech and any team playing the Georgia Bulldogs. Go Jackets! Sting ’em!

From the Porch

By Amber Nagle

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