The fans

We had a hint very early on Friday about what the Georgia turnout for the Notre Dame game would be like.  Nah, not at Hartsfield or on the flight up to Chicago, both of which were heavily sprinkled with red (enough that one of the flight attendants made a ND crack when we were about to exit the plane).  Coming from Atlanta, that was to be expected.

After we got there and got settled in, we walked about a mile or so from our hotel to a pizza joint that opened at 11 in the morning… and watched other Dawg fans walk in and keep walking in.  We took an architectural boat tour on the Chicago River in the early afternoon and saw plenty of red on our boat and on other passing boats.

Came the evening and more of the same.  Two of our group went to the Cubs game.  I’m sure you’ve heard the stories about how the fan base took over Wrigley.  The rest of us when to a classic steak diner and, you guessed it, there were plenty of Georgia fans chowing down.

Throw in the continuing comments from the locals we passed on the street while out and about regarding the number of us who made the trip and it was clear Dawgnation had made an impression.  When you consider that this wasn’t some small college town in the South, but one of the largest cities in the world, that was quite the statement.

South Bend itself?  Allow me to requote myself.

I’ve been to my fair share of road games over almost forty years, and what I saw from us over the past weekend was nothing short of amazing.  Give us crap for being long-suffering, if you must, but don’t doubt our passion for the program.  We showed up.  It was indeed great to be a Georgia Bulldog.

I could do without this, though.

“When we pulled up, we thought it was a home game,” Smart said. “I am proud of this university, and I am proud of the fact that we’ve got a fan base that came to this game in droves. It makes us a special place. This was a special trip for our fan base, and we need our fan base to get behind this team, support this team and support this university.

“We’ve got a lot of projects right now that we’re trying to pay for, and these are the kind of games that help you get that done, because they see the promise in the program.”

Even Butts-Mehre seeing dollar signs everywhere can’t take away how special that trip was.  You done good, gang.


Filed under Georgia Football

25 responses to “The fans

  1. DC Weez

    When I got to my seat, I immediately thought “OMG, there are more Dawg fans than ND fans.” It was a spectacular scene! Go Dawgs!


  2. gastr1

    I would hope they’d see the benefit of scheduling games like that more often. Michigan, Oklahoma, Penn State, Ohio State, Texas, all within driving/short flying distance. Just make sure there’s an off week or a cupcake the week after the mid-season “bowl.” (Not expecting much versus Samford this week, btw.)


  3. Timphd

    It was truly amazing to be part of that. I was astounded by the Dawg turnout. Have to say this too: Notre Dame fans were incredibly gracious and welcoming. Even got a few congratulations after the game. Great day overall. Go Dawgs.


  4. DT

    My favorite moment of the game was ND getting the false start penalty, it was real obvious on TV that the line was having trouble hearing the snap thanks to y’all. Fantastic.


  5. Athens Dog

    What a great weekend. Friday night, I was sitting in the bleachers with one of my best friends who is both a UGA graduate and a 30 year Cubs season ticket holder. The confluence of sports love just overwhelmed him. Great tailgate in SB. Was like a home game. Dogs.


  6. Just wow. It sounds like a good time was had by all.

    I only hope all of our fans remember what this was like when you put your tickets for 2019 up on StubHub and you sell them to some random person. We need to show them what a real home field advantage looks like when they come to Athens.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Bard Parker

    Amazing how the turnout was. ND people were saying repeatedly “Iv’e never seen so much red in my life.” The ND fans were gracious and about every few minutes one would say “Welcome to Notre Dame” as my wife and I walked through campus. One older guy kept yelling “Sit Down!!” during the game but I think he directed that at everyone, not just the Georgia fans.
    The stadium and the fan experience were superb. The concourses were wide and the restrooms clean and functional. Easily identified ushers were polite and helpful. Yes the stadium was just remodeled but some of those ushers looked to have been around awhile. I did not go to the concession stand so I can’t comment on the prices.
    On the bus back we we listening to the ND post-game broadcast and fans were angry that so many Dawgs were in the stands and wanted ti ND athletic department to revoke the season tickets of those who sold theirs. Several comments to the posted article in the South Bend Tribune were in he same vein.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. On our flight up to Midway on Friday morning, nearly the entire plane was clad in red and black. One flight attendant said it reminded her of a charter.

    I concur with how gracious and pleasant all the Notre Dame fans were. Within minutes of parking our car in the lot, we had conversations with several of the tailgating parties around us. All were pleasant, and we even met a Notre Dame fan from Valdosta whose daughter is at UGA.

    All in all, it was a great weekend. Now, when they come visit us in 2019, let’s be sure of 2 things: that we treat all their fans with the graciousness and welcoming that they extended to us, and that we don’t let them take over our stadium the way we took over theirs!


  9. Bob

    Fan base was awesome. It was an incredible weekend. Spent Friday afternoon and much of Saturday on the ND Campus. Went to Mass at the Basilica on Saturday afternoon with 30% of the attendees in Red and Black. At the Rosary it was more like 50-50. Every Georgia fan I talked to was so impressed on how ND takes pride in its heritage in a very classy way. It is a beautiful campus and I have never seen a more gracious and helpful bunch of people than theirs. Before, during and after the game I got nothing but inquiries if we needed help. And they were full of praise for the Georgia fan base.

    I thought the game was sloppy, but I didn’t see any cheap shots or taunting by either team. I give Kirby a lot of credit for cleaning that part of our program up.

    Two things…two simple things. THIS WEEKEND is what College Football is all about. Home and home against big name opponents should not be a once in a lifetime event. Not saying we have to play 4 Power 5 non conference games, but we need lots more of this. Everyone from both sides loved the setting and atmosphere. Sitting in college stadiums with tight bench seating, where you get to know your neighbor is great. Playing in stadiums like Notre Dame or Sanford or Ohio State or whatever beats the hell out of playing an occaisional game in some Pro Stadium that changes its name every other damn year.

    Second, I hope Georgia fans in Athens are equally gracious in two years when the Irish come down. People talk about the arrogance. Hell, I met nothing but great people and a school that displays their history with grace and dignity. We might not have the tradition that they have, but we have a lot more than we display around our stadium. We might take a few tips on how to recognize some of our legends.

    Huge kudos to one of the most memorable weekends I have had. Thanks to ND and their fans and a special, huge Hooorah to Dawg Nation for a hell of a turnout. Krypton in the 4th period was amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll admit I’m worried we aren’t going to get these type of invites in the future after this Saturday night. I can’t imagine an AD wants to deal with a head coach asking him, “What do you mean we’re trying to schedule a Georgia home and home? Did you see how they took over Notre Dame and made their stadium a neutral field?”

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Silver Britches

    Thursday night summed it up for me. Took my wife to dinner and “Hamilton.” Figured it was the least I could do.

    So we go to this VERY nice Italian place, and we’ve sat down, and 2 UGA fans stroll right through the restaurant with red Solo cups. Yep.

    We then get to the theatre, and “What’s That Coming Down the Track” breaks out right before the lights come down. Aaron Burr sings about this soldier that’s currently in Georgia, and someone goes, “WOOOOOOOOO!”

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hillbilly Dawg

    Saw the video “lighting up krypton”….just wow. Had to freak if the ND folks.


  12. The Quincy Carter of Accountants

    Next stop Montana


  13. Red Cup

    A ND man behind me, who has been going to games for 50 years, said only Nebraska back in the day, brought more fans than us. Their folks were nice, classy.


  14. Russ

    I saw a bunch of Dawg fans downtown Chicago, but thought I just happened to stay near other fans. Then, Friday night at Wrigley, it was clear we’d travelled well. Huge “UGA” chant and cheer for Dooley throwing out the first pitch. The clincher was the crowd calling the Dawgs for the opening pitch of the ballgame. Hilarious!

    The crowd Saturday was unbelieveable. Easily 30% of the crowd. When I saw the cellphones light up the stadium to start the 4th quarter, I thought it was a cool effect. I was floored when I learned it was a UGA thing (haven’t been to a night game in Sanford in a while). That REALLY showed how much we spread throughout the stadium. The ND fanbase was very polite and I had several people just welcome me to the stadium and wish me a good time/good luck. Hope we can do the same when they return.

    Sunday (for the trifecta), the Falcons pulled one out at the end. Bears fans weren’t as thrilled with Falcon/Dawg fans, plus I think the Dawg fans were a little spent from the night before. Still, a good way to cap a great sports weekend!

    I had to wear my last clean Georgia shirt to work today just in case I see some ND fans here. Woof.


  15. Mattr

    I cannot begin to say how great a college football Saturday experience this was. The weather was absolutely fantastic! We got on campus around 11:00 a.m. and hung around Mulligans for the most part. Went to the Hammes Bookstore on campus and was immediately struck at how reasonably priced everything was! This is my first observation. Much less expensive than UGA’s campus bookstore!
    And of course, the campus was beautiful and friendly. ND obviously has been there, done that and know how to do it right.
    Got into the stadium about an hour before kickoff and was floored by the UGA fans already inside. Got thirsty and went to the concession stand and got a water for $2.50! Thought that I had read the price board wrong. McGarity definitely doesn’t like how the concessions were priced and the quality of service was way better than what we have! That is my second observation.
    I don’t know about you all, but I felt (and still feel) a magic in the air. I believe we are going to be special this year.
    At the start of the fourth quarter (after we let ND’s band do their thing…and after we had to sit thru the public service announcement) the band got to do Krypton Fanfare… and it was absolutely hard-down beautiful! We had a ND fan ask us what we were doing. He had never seen anything like it before. I told him it was one of the newest ‘traditions’ that we had when we do our normal fourth quarter thing. He was impressed!

    On September 9, 2017, UGA played ND. And I was there when WE owned the place!


    • Bob

      This weekend was what college football should still be about. It doesn’t have to be the Irish every year or some team of that stature. Hell, I would bet Army would even do a 2 for 1. You still have pretty much of a guaranteed win but West Point is a very special place too. Stadium is not big, but going to USMA feels a lot like ND did this weekend. Maybe we could get Falcons-Giants and Braves-Tanks to join in. College games in sterile NFL stadiums whose names change every 2 years or so should be the damn exception. This was the most memorable football experience I have had in decades.


  16. Mg4life0331

    It would of had a true road game feeling if the Notre dame fighting Irish stadium was in Montana.


  17. Dawg19

    I can’t put into words how awesome this weekend was. Calling the Dawgs at Wrigley was fantastic. One Cubs fan told me they felt like they were actually watching the Cubs in St. Louis due to all the red gear. The tailgate outside of Notre Dame Stadium was a blast and inside the stadium was an experience I’ll never forget. Their fans were classy and excellent hosts. The only downside was the officiating. When Roquan got tackled on that one play, even the ND fans behind me said, “Okay, that’s pretty bad.” Other than that, I feel bad for any Dawg fans that weren’t able to make it. It was a magical weekend.

    Here’s a great shirt commentating the weekend.