Saturday, June 14, 2008

The agony of defeat

Because reliving the pain is so rewarding, PWD at Georgia Sports Blog encouraged fans to rank the most heartbreaking defeats in Georgia football, and it's akin to going on a death march. Half the memories I had blissfully forgotten.

Still, here's a list of mine, in no particular order ...

2005 Auburn - Forget the fact that Auburn converted fourth-and-a-million to set up their stunning win and jab the dagger deep into our hearts, but this really put a significant downer on one of the best tailgates ever. It was Tent City's first low country boil, my folks were in town and it was the second - and final - 'McGinty Father/Son Auburn Game.' To make matters worse, I had to get up at 5 a.m. the next morning to catch a flight to Boston.

2002 Florida - This one sucks more in hindsight because, after more than a decade of futility against the Gators, I honestly don't think we ever have a chance against them. Georgia was, however, ridiculously better than Florida that year and had absolutely no business losing that game (the QB rotation with D.J. Shockley promptly throwing an interception returned for a touchdown to kill the team's momentum for the entire game, Billy Bennett missing two easy field goals, going 0-for-13 on third down conversions, George Foster picking up the dumbest personal foul in the history of the game to negate a successful first down pickup, Tony Milton dropping a wide open pass to convert a pivotal fourth down and, of course, Terrence Edwards dropping the game-tying touchdown pass in the closing minutes). Lord, it's painful to think about now ... and it cost the Bulldogs a shot at the national title.

1996 Southern Miss - My first game as a freshman, and we lost to Southern Miss 11-7. Thanks Jim Donnan. Of course, as a side note, the come-from-behind win over Texas Tech just a few weeks later in the rain, which resulted in the student section going bonkers as if we had just won the SEC title was almost as heartbreaking in the sense as it made me realize just how pathetic the 1990s were.

The losses to Clemson in the mid-1980s - I really hated Clemson back then, and those bugged me big-time as a kid.

1999 Georgia Tech - Of course, this loss doesn't happen in today's world since we now employ instant replay, but I agree with most of the commenters over at Georgia Sports Blog in the sense that this game resulted in sheer, blinding rage and not necessarily disappointment. Doug nails it with 'I don't think it's really proper to call yourself "heartbroken" when your first instinct is to go out and commit multiple homicides, and that's what mine was. That game is pretty much the reason I hate Tech even worse than Florida or Auburn, even now; at minimum we have to stretch our current streak to 10 before I'll be satisfied.'

1992 Tennessee - Andre Hastings, for no reason whatsoever, opts to switch hands with the ball with no one within five yards of him and nothing but open field between him and the end zone ... and promptly fumbles. This was even more maddening because, as a freshman at Westside-Augusta, the exact same thing happened to my team in my first high school football experience just one night earlier. Georgia wins that game, and it plays Alabama for the SEC Championship and the right to take on Miami for the national title.

1993 Florida - Borderline enraging like the 1999 Georgia Tech game. The Bulldogs actually won the game, scoring with just a few seconds on the clock though the officials opted to accept a timeout from Florida that came right after the snap. Eric Zeier threw behind Shannon Mitchell in the end zone to end the game. And my dad and I watched the whole thing in the electronics section of Montgomery Ward.

1994 Alabama - I don't really have a ton of memories from this game, except that, until the Mark Richt era convened in 2001, this was the blueprint for how the vast majority of all Georgia football games went in the 1990s against favored teams ... play out of your mind the first three quarters and then make an inexplicable collapse in the final 15 minutes and lose.


Blogger Xon said...

2005 Auburn was bad, simply because of the way we lost. It must be how Florida fans felt in 1980. That just shouldn't happen. Concussed safety or not.

The catharsis for all the 90s bullcrap (and I was at the Southern Miss game in 96, having driven up to watch it even though I was getting ready to ship off..ahem...somewhere else for college) is that we get to take refuge behind the rock of Richt now. That's why I think it is therapeutic to relive these now. We aren't there anymore (though we do still have some heartbreaks b/c that's football and nobody wins every game), so we can look back and shudder and feel even better about where we are now. And it also keeps us humble, for we could go back there again if we aren't careful. (Does this mean that Richt shouldn't handpick David Greene to be his successor in 20 years?)

Let's all take a moment and think about the moment it got better. When did the tide officially turn. Ah, now you're feeling it. October 6, 2001. Knoxville. My wife sleeping on the couch beside me as I'm watching through my fingers. Travis Stephens screen pass. Same old same old. The pattern continues...we're about to blow it in the 4th....except we didn't. I screamed like a girl when Haynes caught that ball, and my wife jolted awake and rolled her eyes at me (we'd been married only two months at this point). I just said, "I told you this is what I was like!"

Resurrection follows death. Good news follows bad.

11:03 PM  
Blogger Josh said...

1999 Georgia Tech. 1999 Georgia Tech. 1999 Georgia Tech. 1999 Georgia Tech. 1999 Georgia Tech. 1999 Georgia Tech. 1999 Georgia Tech. 1999 Georgia Tech. 1999 Georgia Tech. 1999 Georgia Tech. 1999 Georgia Tech. 1999 Georgia Tech. 1999 Georgia Tech. 1999 Georgia Tech. 1999 Georgia Tech. 1999 Georgia Tech. 1999 Georgia Tech. 1999 Georgia Tech. 1999 Georgia Tech. 1999 Georgia Tech. 1999 Georgia Tech. 1999 Georgia Tech.

11:55 PM  

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