GAMEDAY: A different shade of red


Alabama fans cheers against Georgia in the 2008 blackout game in Athens. CW File

Kayla Montgomery

McDonough, Georgia, doesn’t ring a bell to most people. A small blip on the map 30 minutes south of Atlanta on the mighty I-75, the sleepy suburb is right in the heart of Bulldog country, only a little more than an hour away from The University of Georgia. Houses are adorned with Georgia flags, jacked up trucks emblazoned with the signature G, and from the time a child can walk, they bark.

This town is where my parents decided to settle after trekking from rural Alabama to find a better job and a better life, and it’s where I was raised crimson in a sea of red, only a shade off, but clashing none-the-less.

From an early age, it was decided that I would be an Alabama fan. I didn’t have much say in the matter—my parents grew up in the Shoals, staunch supporters of the Crimson Tide. Each yearbook picture featured my dad in a jersey, and my mom, though she still doesn’t know the difference between a field goal and an extra point, knew enough about the game to know Alabama was the only team to cheer for.

The older I got, the more I embraced my Alabama roots—though, as my mom likes to remind me, I’m physically from Georgia, so why don’t I just cheer for them? Because, mom—and the more I realized that barking like a dog was simply unbecoming. I was an Alabama girl through and through, and I wore my Glen Coffee jersey proudly to school on college spirit days and football Fridays. I traded jabs with the boys to defend against their Alabama blows, but frankly, I had little ammunition.

After we made it out of the Dark Ages that were the Shula years, I was finally able to win an occasional argument about why my team was, for the first time in years, better. The 2008 black out game cemented it—Alabama was back, and Georgia had a long way yet to go.

With the thumping Alabama put on the Bulldogs that weekend, I realized one thing. I really hate Georgia. I could make a video reminiscent of the famed I Hate Tennessee monologue, but for the sake of professionalism, I haven’t yet fallen into that trap.

Each year, UGA enters the season boastful and hopeful, and each year they end the season dejected. But still, fans refuse to admit that Alabama has talent.

Granted, I am biased, and severely so, but Georgia is worse than Auburn in my book—and LSU and Tennessee, too—and when Alabama takes the field against the Bulldogs this weekend, I’ll be checking my editor hat at the door. Nothing would make me happier than to see my team black out the [sic] Dawgs, but in my heart of hearts, I’m skeptical of the outcome.

While Georgia and Alabama match up well on paper, this game will be uncharted territory for this Crimson Tide team. It’s the first time quarterback Jake Coker will be tested in a truly hostile road environment, and Alabama will be tasked with stopping Georgia’s running back Nick Chubb, who is looking to break Herschel Walker’s 100-yard game streak with 13.

While I sincerely hope Alabama proves me wrong in my doubts, I’ll still rest easy at night knowing that students on our campus have seen more championships than middle-aged Georgia fans have in their lifetime.

But, I’ve already planned my escape from Athens, just in case. After all these years, I’ve forgotten how to handle the torment.