As the college football season approaches, fans are beginning to get excited about their teams and the possibility of a championship season. Of course these dreams and expectations will fade in most cases as the season progresses. There’s only one champion left standing at the end of the year, although a team can have a great season without winning that National Championship game.
As most of you know, I am an Auburn fan who also has a fondness for Georgia Tech. Yeah, I know that sounds strange but that’s just the way it is. I expect that most of my readers have a favorite team and keep up with them religiously. Good luck to your team in 2014!
As a youth I kept up with college football through the Atlanta Journal. There were only three TV stations in Atlanta and I also watched them occasionally to find out what was going on on the college gridiron. I would listen to Tech games on Saturdays but never had a chance to go to a game. Many local kids regularly attended college games, but my parents weren’t college grads and really had no interest in college football. I was given the chance to go to my first college game on October 5, 1963 when our basketball coach at R.E. Lee, Bobby Chaney, took a bunch of players to Athens to see Georgia play. I was 15 years old. Coach Chaney was a Georgia graduate and had played basketball for the Bulldogs. I was really excited to get to go to a game in person and the fact that it was at Georgia didn’t make a bit of difference.
We rode in Coach Chaney’s station wagon to Athens and got there early. We went to some building on campus where we met Georgia’s baseball coach, Jim Whatley. He was a big dude! Then Georgia’s football coach, Johnny Griffith, came into the room in a wheel chair. It seems that he had broken his leg and had to maneuver in the chair. I always wondered why he wasn’t with his team at that time. This would Griffith’s last year at the helm of the Bulldogs before a guy named Dooley took over.
We then went to a restaurant. It may have been The Varsity, but I’m not sure that there was a Varsity in Athens at that time. While there we saw Dan Reeves, who was the quarterback at South Carolina, which was Georgia’s opponent that day. Reeves was injured at the time and did not play in that day’s game. Of course years later he became the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons.
I really enjoyed the game. Of course, Sanford Stadium wasn’t nearly as large as it is today, but it looked pretty big to me. Matthews Field was the biggest stadium I had ever seen before that day! We were pretty close to the field and I could not only see the action, but I could hear it.
Georgia was decked on in red jerseys, silver pants, and silver helmets and there was no “G” on the side of the helmet. Georgia won 27-7 and I remember a few of their players. There was Larry Rakestraw, Mickey Babb, Bill McCullough, Len Hauss, Pat Hodgson, and Don Porterfield among others. I’m sure that many old-time Georgia fans remember those guys.
It was really fun day for me and no matter how many college football games I attend I will always remember that first game. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience!