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One more hump to over

Remember that country song by Mac Davis It’s Hard to Be Humble (When You’re Perfect in Every Way)? I’m not talking about me, but you knew that. But, don’t look now, former Bainbridge Bearcat Kirby Smart’s Georgia Bulldogs are perfect this year.

One of my passions is following my college alma mater’s football team. I love college football in general, but I really love the Georgia Dawgs. They have played seven games this year and have won them all and are rated the #3 team in the whole nation. Coach Kirby Smart is the “Cat’s Meow” of this year’s coaching circle.

This week, his team climbs its biggest mountain and, hopefully, gets the monkey off the back of his team. That idiom, “Monkey off the back,” began in the 1800’s and probably had something to do with owing a certain amount of money that was burdensome, like a mortgage.

There is no doubt when considering the University of Georgia’s football seasons, recently, the monkey on the back has meant the Florida game in Jacksonville. The Dawgs have come up on the short end of the stick more times than not. That includes years where Georgia clearly had the advantage in talent and national rankings. It seemed that, if the Bulldogs were going to lay an egg in a game, the affair in Jacksonville was the place.

The Georgia-Florida game besides being a hotly contested game each year, is also known as the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. I’ve never been, but I think that means that fans on both sides have a real, large time!

I read a lot about my favorite team and our fans might have begun the year with question marks, but have jumped on the bandwagon with both feet as the season has progressed. At the same time, there does seem to be some reluctance to go “all in” until this upcoming game is played. Those monkeys on the back can hold on pretty long and hard.

As a pastor, people know where I stand, but I also have to be a little careful. You never know when you could step on the foot of some generous member when it comes to their passion for their team.

I was new at my Mitchell County church and a new family had come into the fellowship. I liked them very much but never talked about our college football preferences.

It was the week before the game and I wanted to have some fun. I asked, “Did you hear about the Florida Gator terrorist who tried to blow up the Georgia Bulldog team bus? He burned his lips on the tail pipe.” Most people laughed.

I continued. “A guy walks into a bar and asks the bartender, ‘Did you hear the one about the Florida Gators?’ Four huge, strong-looking fellows approached the man and said, ‘We play football for the Florida Gators. Would you like to tell that joke to us?’ The man replied, ‘What? And have to explain it four times.’”

Again, most people laughed, except the mother of the new family. I thought that maybe she didn’t think the joke was funny so I tried another.

“Little Johnny runs up to his mother and says, ‘I want to be a Florida Gator when I grow up.’ Mommy says, ‘Now, Johnny, you know you can’t do both.’” I doubled over laughing but she didn’t.

After the service, she was a little cool toward the preacher and her son came up and said, “Momma graduated from Florida.”

Be that as it may, get over the hump this weekend Dawgs!