SMITH COLUMN: My hometown
Published 9:30 am Friday, June 2, 2023
What do you consider to be your hometown? Where you were born? Where you were raised? Where you have lived the longest?
There are many cases where generation after generation follow in the footsteps of their forebears, living in the same neighborhood and engaging in the same occupation — great grandfather to grandfather to father to son.
Higher education has often brought about life changes which have brought about a prevalence of “adopted” hometowns. Job opportunity is often a factor in establishing one’s hometown. Pure adventure enraptures others. At one time, getting off the farm yesteryear led to a change of address for many young people.
Like so many with whom I am familiar, once I set foot in Athens, I never wanted to live anywhere else. A university environment is unquestionably the best. There is a lively edge to the atmosphere. The intellectual influence — from star students to exalted researchers — is stimulating and inspiring and rubs off on those who might still yield to provincial thinking.
The vibrancy of youth, which the students bring about with a perpetual lifting of spirits, leaves fleeting depression when they are not in our midst such as holidays and summer vacations. Bulldog sports teams, especially football, spark lively interest and curiosity; passion and devotion which dramatically affect the economy.
Good things are being done all over campus, and there are well-meaning researchers and professors doing some good for the world for which we can all be proud. Bright students, who aspire to contribute to society in multiple ways, will make us proud in the days ahead. It will be a source of pride for alumni in years to come to witness the hosannas that will be accompanying the future of the annual graduating classes.
If you haven’t spent time at the University of Georgia bookstore lately, you should browse through the place and see for yourself the graphic display of colors which is a reminder that the “G” seems to be for everyone. While that is not exactly accurate, there are legions out there across the landscape who have developed an affinity for the Red and Black — even outside the state’s borders.
A few years ago, pre–Kirby Smart, Alabama was winning, and Georgia was aspiring, but UGA merchandise outsold every institution in the country except Texas.
Not sure what it is today, but that universal passion has intensified lately, especially with back-to-back national championships having made the Georgia Bulldogs the toast of college football.
With the lull that comes about this time of the year — between the seasons — I sat on my screen porch this past weekend for a respite and reflection.
While I am euphoric at where we are in the “Smart Attack” era I worry that supreme confidence might lead to overconfidence. That is okay so long as the players don’t start drinking that heady wine. That usually happens with any budding dynasty, however.
You can look back in the history of sports and find how the mighty eventually fall. Oklahoma, with its 47-game winning streak in the fifties, established a record that would be the most difficult to break when you consider the available talent in today’s college game.
The New York Yankees of the fifties won eight pennants and six World Series, but it came to an end. When Vince Lombardi’s career ended with the Packers, suddenly Green Bay was no longer Titletown, U. S. A.
The Patriots, led by Bill Belichick, won six Super Bowls, and lost three making him the most prolific Super Bowl coach in history. Who is to say that he won’t win another one before he ends his illustrious career.
Right now, however, pride notwithstanding, if you are a betting man, who would you bet on to win the next college football playoff? Who could bet against the Bulldog head coach?
To live in a college town and to be enraptured by college football, and experience winning as it has become under Kirby Smart is a rich and rare experience.
Since the domination of Texas Christian in Los Angeles this past January in Los Angeles, I have held the view that a “three-peat” is possible, but not probable but with this caveat: If anybody can, Kirby can!