When You Don't Go to UGA Football Games

On Sept. 21, Athens became home to nearly 300,000 more people as they came to watch the big game between the Georgia Bulldogs and Notre Dame's Fighting Irish. The streets of Athens are no stranger to being packed with fans sporting red, black and white gear, but this time it was different. This time, ESPN was coming to town and taking over Myers Quad, bringing in excitement from both UGA students and faculty as well as hardcore Georgia fans.

You'd think everyone and their mom would be excited for this event, considering the fact that Georgia had only played Notre Dame twice in the past, (once in the 1981 Sugar Bowl and again in 2017), and a huge sports news station was coming to town to cover it.

But not everyone who goes to UGA particularly likes or follows football, and this can get to you. Especially during football season and especially when there's a game as huge as Notre Dame v. Georgia.

So how do you cope with not being a huge football fan? For me, personally, it's not that I don't like football, it's just that it's not my thing. For some people, they may hate it entirely; for others, they just don't understand it. No matter what your view on football is, if you aren't heavily into UGA football, sometimes it can get overwhelming with a big college football program such as ours.

Last year, I never got student tickets because football just wasn't my thing and money was tight. As football season went on, I couldn't help feeling left out. I wanted to get into it, but I only understand the bare minimum of American football. Would I even understand what was happening down on that field?

This year, however, was different, because I sort of understand football more now. First semester of freshman year, I was so worried and confused about anything and everything. But now here I am, my Fall semester of sophomore year, and I am fully and unapologetically a Georgia Bulldog.

But this past Saturday was different for me. I live in Myers Hall, so ESPN had started setting up the Thursday before. All these people were on the lawn setting up the stage, gates and stands, and large semi-trucks took residence on the grass like they were Transformers trying to seem inconspicuous. They woke me up at 7 a.m. on Thursday, and that made me wake up very angrily. But hey, at least I wasn't tired by the time I got to my 9:30 class.

I'll admit, as College Gameday approached, I became more and more excited as Myers Hall became a hotbed of excitement. Friday, I even got to appear on TV during College Football Live as sports analysts Maria Taylor and David Pollack and rapper Quavo made appearances. 

I might not know football, but I do know music, and Quavo from Migos walked through my dorm lobby into the programming room. Wow. 

So yeah, I got a little excited as Saturday neared. But this excitement didn't last for long.

On Saturday, I woke up at 6:30 a.m. to a crowd of people already standing outside on the quad, cheering and chanting. This I was expecting, unlike the awful beeping and drillling noises I heard on Thursday when I just so happened to have a very busy day. When my roommate finally caught a glimpse of what was outside, she promptly crawled back under her covers and went back to sleep. But once I'm up, I'm up, so I stayed in bed on my phone until the sunlight streaming in through our windows became blinding.

I ate breakfast in the room, got dressed in a really cute all-black outfit coupled with cute sandals and UGA inspired makeup, and took some selfies because why not. My day consisted of taking pictures at the stadium with a friend and going from tailgate to tailgate, ending with my friend's family's tailgate, a friend who I hadn't seen since middle school. After that, I stayed in my room and watched the festivities from my window, which had a perfect view of the extrmely packed crowd.

As the day went on, however, I got extremely anxious as it became clear that more people were arriving as it got closer to game time. A night-game meant partying all day, going to the game, and then partying after. I had the entire suite to myself, and I hated every second of it.

At first it was fine, but by the time 5:00 hit, I felt the pressure. I changed out of my cute outfit and took off my makeup and just sadly sat by the window, watching people have fun. I went through social media several times, took breaks from it as I saw post after post of happy tailgaters and fans, and ate my problems away through snacks.

At one point, I think I even shed a tear or two.

I needed a break from moping, so I took the greatest shower I have ever taken in a dorm bathroom and ate my dinner (a pre-made salad from Walmart) in my room while watching a movie, and I ended up doing homework until it became post-game time. My roommate wasn't back yet, as she was helping to sell concessions at the game with her club, and my other suitemates were also still out. One of them wasn't even in Athens; she had gone home Friday to avoid all the commotion.

I spent the rest of the night in bed, trying to drown out the sounds of partying around me by watching some shows with high volume.

We won that game, thank goodness. I was happy about that because I do have a mild interest in football. But that being said, I've reflected on this past weekend and my overall experience with Georgia football, and I've got some things to say to my fellow non-UGA-football people:

It's absolutely okay to not like football. Honestly, I misjudged UGA before I actually started going here, and no one is "forcing" you to be a football fan. And a lot of the time, people are okay with you not being totally into UGA football.

This past weekend made me feel the pressures of not being a huge SEC football jock-nerd, but it sure made me happy to be a part of a great school. Football may seem like everything here, but I think the most valuable and outstanding thing about this school is the sense of community and pride in just being a Georgia BulldogIt's more than football. It's having a love for this massive school and the people who are in it.

As they say in Athens, it's great to be a Georgia Bulldog!