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The Prodigal Son

Mike Bobo

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The following is a guest post by aspiring sports journalist Zach Ramsey

Winston Churchill said it best, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Call me a pessimist. Dawg fans everywhere have their own opinion of Todd Grantham’s tenure at the University of Georgia, but one thing cannot be debated; he is now officially gone. Grantham’s exodus from Athens leaves a gaping hole at Defensive Coordinator with National Signing Day looming. Candidates have emerged, but none with more ardent support from Dawg Nation than the former UGA letterman, and current Saban disciple, Kirby Smart. Chants of “Come Home Kirby” have echoed all throughout the Twittersphere allowing UGA fans to proceed with cautious optimism that has been foreign to them since Mettenberger overthrew Odell Beckham Jr. on 4th and 10. Is this cautious optimism a “Smart” thing? Allow me to present a metaphorical, hypothetical situation where Kirby Smart coming to Athens is not a “Smart move”.

Growing up in the South, most of us were escorted to Sunday School where we heard bible stories. Reminisce on those nostalgic memories for a moment and give me the pleasure of reminding you of one of the more heartwarming parables we all heard at one point or another “The Prodigal Son”. “The Prodigal Son” could be more relevant to Georgia fans than most realize if a few dominoes were to fall into place. Here is “The Prodigal Son” in a new light more applicable to our current situation:

A wealthy man with many resources lived in Athens and had two sons. One son has always stayed with his family. He never left home and he worked the land every day, and is with the family constantly. This son has battled for the family and been through the mountain tops of victories over rival clans from Gainesville, Baton Rouge, and Knoxville. The father could always depend on this son. He may not have always gotten everything right, but he never turned his back on the family. We will call this son, Mike.

But, the father had another son. This son grew up in the family and learned from his family members. He worked his father’s land for a little while but soon sought greener pastures. This son approached his father and told him he sought his inheritance immediately. The father was gracious and gave it to him; he wanted to see his son succeed even if it meant leaving the family. We will call this son, Kirby.

Kirby left the family farm to blaze his own trail and see what the world had to offer him. Kirby left Athens and his family as a bright eyed dreamer who was determined to achieve everything he knew he could. He learned a lot from his father and other family members and knew he could apply that knowledge to help him get ahead. Kirby struggled to get to the top and eventually he had made a name for himself. Kirby left the family and forgot his roots; his gracious family soon became a distant memory.

All the while the other son, Mike, was toiling away and doing whatever he could to help the family succeed. Mike did his job with few complaints but his work always seemed to go unnoticed. He woke up every morning and did the chores that were required of him. Complaints came more often than praise but Mike continued to battle for his family who he loved dearly.

Meanwhile, Kirby was living the high life with no regard for his family’s well-being. Kirby’s partnered with an tyrant who lived in a neighboring village. We will call this tyrant, Nick.

Kirby was an integral part of the clan’s success in Tuscaloosa but he was never given significant recognition. He was always promised “his day would come” but as Kirby waited for his day he saw other clan members “replaced” by Nick if they didn’t do their job effectively. Kirby became frightened and his thoughts wondered as to what could happen to him if he did not meet the evil tyrant Nick’s lofty standards.

Then, out of nowhere, Kirby got a call one day from his father; he wanted him to come home. As Kirby got closer, he saw that there were thousands of people at the family farm. His father had thrown a party to celebrate Kirby’s return. Any one that had any ties to the family had come out to greet Kirby as he was welcomed home. With Kirby being home, most members of the family did not notice Mike.

Mike was not able to dress up for the celebration because he had been out doing chores for the family all day. Mike was happy to see Kirby home; he had spent years with Kirby by his side. Mike had toiled for years on his family’s farm with little to no recognition or praise while Kirby had turned his back on the family yet was still having a party thrown to celebrate his homecoming. It didn’t add up for Mike. Shortly after the celebration was over, Mike left.

Don’t get me wrong, I want Kirby Smart “to come home” and be the defensive coordinator at UGA. He would be a great fit and, in my opinion, do an amazing job. He would boost recruiting and could very well give the Dawgs exactly what has cost them hardware in the past.

Mike Bobo has done a more than admirable job. He has developed the talents of players like Murray and Stafford and has fielded some of the most potent offenses in the country. So I propose the question, if Kirby the prodigal son was to return, I am sure we would have to give him a welcome home celebration and millions of dollars. If UGA were to do this, how does Mike, the other son react? Will he be gracious and accept his brother with open arms, or does he feel spurned by the family who has been so unappreciative in the past?