I’ve got one last observation about what I watched from my seat Saturday to share with you. It’s very easy to wax cynical about the business side of college football – often, for good reasons – and so it’s also easy to overlook what makes these kids play with the passion they do.
I got a reminder of that after the win.
Those kids have been jumped on by plenty of folks for shortcomings, both real and imagined, and had to be emotionally drained after as intense a game as Georgia has played in a long time. But you never would have known that from the sheer joy on display as virtually the entire team came over to celebrate with the fans.
Two or three things stuck with me as I watched them. One was Cornelius Washington, who, you may remember, had a blow up after Crowell’s dismissal that didn’t sit so well with the fan base, sporting a smile you could see a mile away and getting plenty of love back. Then there was John Theus, sporting the obligatory offensive-lineman-with-a-cut-over-his-nose look and a big ol’ grin. But the best of all was Aaron Murray and Jarvis Jones talking by themselves on the ten-yard line. You didn’t need to read lips to know what that conversation was about.
And then there’s the head coach. Richt’s taken plenty of heat of late. There were lots of doubters going into the Cocktail Party. It would have been easy to walk off the field straight into the locker room and celebrate in private. There are some coaches I can think of who would have been happy gloating. But say what you will about Mark Richt, that’s not one of his shortcomings. Instead, he worked his way down to our end of the field before the players did and celebrated – not for himself, but with us.
And then he thanked us.