Football in the city
I was never much of a football girl. I grew up with a vague notion of hating aggies (whatever those were) and as a toddler would hook ‘em horns on command, but the actual football part never caught my eye. In college I always thought I had better things to do than cheer on my tiny college football team with 1,000 other people in an empty, echoey Super Dome.
In grad school I was lured to a tailgate with promises of sun, friends, BBQ, and beer on a pretty Saturday afternoon. I grudgingly went. We are not sports people. I don’t paint my face and support the team. Please. That day – who knew? I enjoyed a few sweetwaters, good company and a gorgeous Saturday afternoon. Well, huh! Football is awesome! I eventually even made it to a game! And, slowly, grew to be a Georgia Tech football fan.
And now, Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field is where I spend my home-game Saturdays. We sit in the back row of the east stands, where you can see the entire field and still catch a breeze wafting off the connector, where a group of friends congregates and stomps and cheers and sings and toasts the Yellow Jackets. It’s completely different from the typical small-town college football experience, as we are smack dab in the center of midtown Atlanta. Over my left shoulder towers the Bank of America building, and to my right, the midtown skyline. Night games are gorgeous, and if we’ve had too much to drink, we’ll walk a few blocks down Peachtree and catch a cab home.
I’ve come to love all the traditions that make up the institution. The fight song, “I’m a Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech,” is the only one I know of that is about drinking and gambling and cursing (at least in early 1900’s when it was introduced, “helluva” was in-a-ppropriate). It was sung on the Ed Sullivan show in 1953 – censored, of course, to “heckuva engineer.” It was the first school song played in space (a sort of bizarre
superlative, but I’ll take it). It was also sung by Nixon and Khrushchev in 1959, as the story goes, easing the tension during the Kitchen Debates in 1959 – Nixon didn’t know any Russian songs, but Khrushchev knew Ramblin’ Wreck. Rat caps, the Budweiser song, paging the fictional George P. Burdell, stealing the T, racing recently designed and constructed recks at 8am on homecoming morning – except for that 8am business, I’m a fan.
I know that in-state rivalries requires a good number of you to read this with disdain for our crappy program (while denying that a rivalry exists because GT is so far beneath UGA and the SEC), but Georgia Tech football is a pretty unique Atlanta experience. We’re lucky to have it. And we’ll be playing Duke and Miami and UGA in the coming month (oops edit: UGA is in Athens) – but not on the day of Chomp and Stomp, which means I get to fully participate in all of my favorite fall pastimes. Pretty sure you can track down a ticket to at least Duke, probably Miami (edit: on Saturday Nov 13th). Protip: the guys with “I need tickets” signs don’t really.