Last updated: September 05. 2014 6:31AM - 1547 Views
Matt Bentley Times Contributor

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Hi, my name is Matt Bentley and I am NOT a bandwagon fan! Let me tell you about myself, before I explain myself. I am a 37-year-old sports junkie. I was born in Thomaston in 1977. I left this community only to play junior college soccer and then to attend the University of Georgia in Athens. In 2000, I was given the opportunity to come back home to coach and teach at my high school alma mater. There was no way I was going to turn that down! Since then, I have been teaching for 15 years. I have taught Georgia History at the middle school and World and US history at the high school. I have been coaching for the same time period. I have coached basketball in the past and am currently in my 15th year coaching boy’s soccer and 13th year coaching middle school football. I enjoy every single minute as a teacher and a coach. I felt that it was important to tell you about myself in order for you to understand why I am NOT A BANDWAGON FAN!

There are many people across the world that will jump on the latest and greatest things. In the sports world if a team is winning, then all of the sudden, their fan base increases dramatically. People run out to buy t-shirts, post annoying stuff on Facebook, and will argue with you about how this teams is the greatest thing since slice bread! How many Oregon football fans in Georgia can even tell you what city the school is in? I can promise you that I am NOT one of those people. These are bandwagon fans. Yes, it is fun to cheer on teams like the San Antonio Spurs, who play true team basketball. It is fun to cheer on great guys in sports like Peyton Manning. It is also easy to cheer for a team that may be playing a rival of yours because you don’t want them to win. How many of you were doing the tomahawk chop this past January because you couldn’t stand the fact that the Auburn Tigers may be National Champions in football?

I have no problem with that… for a night or two. But to jump on the bandwagon and claim to be a ‘die-hard’ fan of the team, I do have a problem with that! If you ask any of my family or close friends they will tell you I am very passionate and loyal towards my relationships. I will fight for you and defend you if I love and respect you. I am the same way in sports. I am NOT a bandwagon fan. I am a loyal fan. I am passionate when it comes to coaching my teams and also when watching the teams that I love on TV or in person. So I know what you are thinking, what teams am I so passionate about.

First of all I am an Upson-Lee Knight. I have purple and black blood in me. I have worked hard fighting on the athletic field and even have bled for this school. I gave everything I have for them as an athlete and now as a coach. I do not like to lose. I want all of our sports teams to win. I will not become a Trojan because they are moving along in the football playoffs or a Pirate because they are having success in baseball. I am a KNIGHT. I get mad and maybe even a little jealous when schools around us are having any success. I want Upson Lee to be the best in the middle Georgia and even the best in the state! I am a Knight, 100 percent, not a bandwagon fan.

I am a Georgia Bulldog! I graduated from the greatest university in the world in 1999. The first college football games I ever went to as a young boy were in Auburn and at Georgia Tech, but when I got my first taste of game day in Athens as a young man… I was hooked. There is nothing like the University of Georgia. I have been through the Jim Donnan years, I have been through the good times and the bad times under Coach Richt. I can quote Larry Munson and I can even tell you what Dawgs are in the pros. I don’t like the Florida Gators, the Tennessee Volunteers, or the Auburn Tigers.

I am not one that will cheer for Georgia Tech just because they are in the state of Georgia. Does this sound crazy? Does this sound like I am biased? YES! Because I am not a bandwagon fan! I will not cheer for Vandy because they are running through the College World Series. I will not wear a ‘Bama hat because Nick Saban has had a ton of success the past few years. I am sorry. I can’t do it. I won’t do it! I am a Dawg! I am not a bandwagon fan!

You can call me a homer if you want. On summer nights I am going to watch every pitch of the Atlanta Braves game, I will be glued to the TV on fall Sundays to watch Matty Ice and the Falcons. And yes, I even watch just about every Atlanta Hawks game during the NBA season. I do not understand when people jump on the bandwagon for teams that are having a little success when they are living in a state with so many sports teams to cheer for. I am a loyalist when it comes to sports. I yell and scream at the TV for the teams I love. I only buy t-shirts from teams from our state. If a player leaves the Braves for millions of dollars playing for the Yankees, I no longer cheer for him. I know this may be silly to some of you. I know some of you are like, “man, this guy is crazy.” I do apologize, I honestly can’t help it. I love sports with a passion that many of you also have. I know there are hundreds of you are right there with me and saying, “right on!” So, in conclusion… hi, my name is Matt. I am a Knight, a Dawg, a Brave, a Falcon and a Hawk. And most importantly I AM NOT A BANDWAGON FAN!

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