Random thoughts from my day in Athens

I went to the UGA v. MSU game on Saturday. I got the tickets late Friday afternoon, and was unable to find someone to go with me. Undeterred, I arose early Saturday morning. There was a nip in the air; the fall colors were starting to come into full view; and I was one of many that were making the trek back to our second home, our Mecca, the ATH, Athens, Georgia. I can say without hesitation that I love being in Athens during football season.

I have not had the chance to take pictures during a football game. So, I took my camera and decided to have some fun. Now, y’all have to remember that I have a traditional 35mm film camera. I won’t have the pictures for a couple of days. When I get them, I will post them for all to see. Anyhow, back to my tale.

As I wondered from the East Campus Parking Deck to the scenic North Campus, I got my fair share of people looking at me with a sense of befuddlement. However, I don’t know if it was from my new haircut, my SG t-shirt, or the fact that I was taking pictures of random things and people that caused this befuddlement. Moreover, I was glad that I was able to walk the distance over a mile and a half without fail.

Tailgating is a wonderful experience. It allows people to sit, talk, drink, and commune with one another. Yet, I decided to forego find some friends and crash their tailgating party to take part in an old pre-game ritual of mine. I made my way to Little Italy; a pizzeria makes the best pizza in Athens and for the cheapest price. I got thin slice of pizza (pepperoni and banana peppers) and made my way back to North Campus. Under the canopy of the old trees and the falling autumn leaves, I enjoyed sitting and watching the people wonder to and fro and the simple fact that I was home again.

On my way back to Sanford Stadium, I came across three groups trying to proclaim their version of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I did not pay attention to the words being uttered. I was more interested in taking a picture that captured their presence in this sea of sin. Coming from a religious background (fundamentalist, evangelical Christian), I do appreciate their bravery to present their message to an audience that is more concerned about hooking up after the game and how to sneak in some demon alcohol into the stadium than the teachings of Jesus. However, being a refugee from said background, I question their tactics. Their presence was more of an oddity and their manner in presenting the good word was more to bring attention to themselves than their lord and savior. Yet, I am not their redeemer; I am not their judge; I am just a man wondering in hopeless night . . . . . hold on, I am starting to ramble again. Moving right along.

One of the best things about sports is the ability to bond with people from different backgrounds and to rally around something that is bigger than you are. However, the most pleasant thing that happened to me was that a small boy, Tyler, who was no more than five years old, and had never seen me before became my friend. He would sit there talk to me, lean against me, and cheer when I did. Other than my team winning, I would say meeting Tyler was the highlight of being in Athens again.


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