The greatest birthday gift of all

Published 3:31 pm Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Sanford Stadium was packed last Saturday night for the Georgia Bulldog’s last true night game of the season.

It was chilly, too. Real football weather. I have to think some of those licks down on the field stung for a little while in that weather.

Oh, yeah. They were playing Auburn. As if I needed any more of a reason to scream my head off.

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Tickets to this game were all I asked for for my birthday this year, and the gift paid off spectacularly. I was able to hang out with many of my best friends, visit with lots of extended family and watch Georgia dominate one of its biggest challengers in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. There’s just something about a 9-1 Georgia team in November that makes Athens buzz with energy unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.

Knowing the night was going to be cold, I suited up in layers that would help me survive the game. The only thing missing was something to go on my head. Luckily, my family came in with a clutch extra birthday gift. It was a white hat, and printed on it in bold red letters it said, “RUN THE D*** BALL”.

I wore it proudly the whole night. Every time I turned a corner there was someone complimenting it. I like to think Georgia running back D’Andre Swift saw me wearing the hat in Section 126 before ripping off a 77-yard touchdown run to put the game away in the fourth quarter. Glad my headwear could give you a little extra boost, D’Andre!

The stadium got so loud at one point that I think we started a small earthquake. Auburn was backed into its own end zone and quarterback Jarret Stidham tried to change the play as the play clock ticked dangerously low. Linebacker D’Andre Walker waved his hands to pump up the crowd, and the already roaring stadium doubled its volume. The noise got to Stidham, and he quickly called time out. We erupted, gratified and satisfied for doing our part in creating as unfriendly an atmosphere as possible.

After the game, we slogged through traffic and finally reached home around 11 p.m. What could soothe a throat soar from cheering all night? Pecan pie, of course, A.K.A. my birthday cake. I cut a piece the size of a small country and piled ice cream on top. That did the trick.

Soon, I was asleep and dreaming about Kirby and the Dawgs beating Alabama in the SEC Championship. Hopefully that doesn’t stay just a dream.