You don’t need a calendar to know when it’s football season in the South. You can tell it’s that time when adults start acting like fools and students start ignoring their studies and singing fight songs.
Georgia, my alma mater, opens the 2009 season tomorrow (9/5) against Oklahoma State. And to illustrate how widespread football fever is with us types, I’ve included a video (above) that I shot in 2005.
As a former resident of Orange County, CA, I’d occasionally drive up I-405 to an area near the UCLA campus on fall Saturdays. There I’d join other members of the SoCal Dawgs booster group. You’d never confuse it with being between the famous hedges in Athens. But we’d get gatherings of as many as 90 people in the den-like viewing area, and we’d have mock hangings of the mascots of the opponent du jour.
I shot the video below on the UGA campus in April before the annual spring football game. The activities outside the stadium actually were more entertaining than the game, as there were eight-minute quarters and no punts or kickoffs, to prevent injuries. As a student, I’d always snicker a bit when the old grads came back on campus for such days. Now, I get the warm fuzzies. As Jimmy Buffett sang, we are the people our parents warned us about.
This will be the first full season in many years that Larry Munson’s familiar gravelly voice will not be calling Bulldog football. Age has taken its inevitable toll, and there’s no replacing a legend like that. But there’s also no replacing the fun and fervor of SEC football.