College football is a serious subject in the South and many folks get emotional about their team of choice.
From talking with people from other parts of the country, the love for college football is not like it is here anywhere else in the country.
I guess most of the people I know are fans of the Georgia Bulldogs.
And I can’t say I really blame them. They seem to win far more than my team, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
I didn’t go to Georgia Tech but graduated from Reinhardt. Although Reinhardt hasn’t had a football team, they will in 2013.
But my Daddy was a Tech fan for as long as I can remember. It was one of the loves in his life. He pulled for Tech regardless of their record or how badly they played. So one of the things he passed on to me was a love for Georgia Tech football.
On most fall Saturdays I am not sure if that was a blessing or a curse.
As much as he loved to watch his team play on television, I couldn’t remember a time that he ever went to a game in Atlanta.
Four years ago, only one short year before Dad went to live in Canton Nursing Center, his mental stability was swiftly declining. I decided it was time that he went to a Georgia Tech Football game.
I was married at the time and my wife and I took my parents to Atlanta for the game.
The Jackets were playing Mississippi State. Georgia Tech was having a decent year so the crowd was relatively large. In addition to that, we had to walk a long way to get to our seats.
Knowing of his decline, I was somewhat worried after the long walk. But he was fine.
When we reached our seats and Tech came out on the field, Dad yelled and clapped for the team he had loved for so long. However, the folks in front of us kept standing up making it very difficult to see.
So I went to the top of the steps where the handicap seats are. I told one of the police officers of the situation and he told me to bring Mom and Dad up top so they could see the game.
I hope the officer who allowed this gets a special blessing somewhere down the road for his kind act.
We had to stand behind my parents because we didn’t have any obvious disabilities. Georgia Tech played a great game that day.
Our seats were near the goal line. Tech scored a touchdown right in front of us.
My Dad came out of his seat instantly with his arms waving in the hair and yelling a cheer along with the rest of the crowd.
It was amazing to watch and had absolutely nothing to do with football.
In my entire life I had never seen my Dad get that excited. I had never seen him express that much youthful happiness.
But he was truly happy if for only a moment. It was something I will never forget unless I too have to endure what he endures.
I knew the crowd would be thick and rambunctious after the game, so mid-way through the fourth quarter we left the stadium for the long hike back to the car.
We could still here the screams from the fans in the stadium as we got into the car to leave.
I decided to turn on the game on the way home and listen to the finish. I remember Dad asking me which game I was listening to. I told him the Tech game. He said, “Really. Are they playing today?”
I wanted to cry but I couldn’t. I just went with it because that’s what you do in these situations.
But I thought back to the unbridled joy he had experienced less than an hour before.
And all I could do was thank the Lord that He had given us this day. For I knew that we would never make this trip again.
Chris Collett is a lifelong resident of Cherokee County.