Homecoming is the perfect time to reflect that the Georgia Bulldogs, Sanford Stadium and all the traditions are a timeless and enduring delight to the senses

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Homecoming is the perfect time to reflect that the Georgia Bulldogs, Sanford Stadium and all the traditions are a timeless and enduring delight to the senses

Jeff Dantzler
Jeff Dantzler

Be great, stay relevant. Reliving the glory days of the early 1980s is a lot more fun now that Georgia is in the midst of the Kirby Smart Glory Days of the late 2010s and early 2020s.

Going to watch the Bulldogs play is the common ground. Georgia is the unifier. The magnificent retired Reverend Chuck Hodges talked one morning at Athens First United Methodist of one of the things that makes college football, and in our case, Georgia football so special and beloved. We’re all for something. Petty differences are left at the gates. In a world so frighteningly ripe with division and anger on so many topics and subjects, with the flames so easily fanned by the addictions of social media (by the way, you can follow me on Twitter @JeffDantzlerTV) the Georgia Bulldogs bring people together. Oh there’s still hate. I know that’s a strong word, so let’s just say severe dislike for most of the opposition. Especially if that foe in the eyes of the Bulldogs wears old gold or orange. But everyone in red and black has the common unity of pulling with everything you’ve got, to somehow hopefully witness a Georgia victory.





Through decades and decades, we keep coming back. It brings old friends – some we only see on autumn Saturdays – back together and there are new friends to be made. All with that common bond of loving the Georgia Bulldogs.

Tradition is a cornerstone of college football. That’s why so many of these sweeping changes from conference expansion, a tripling in playoff size, the transfer portal, NIL, have been head-spinning for a sport that had been relatively stable for a long time.

We love the tradition of the Georgia Bulldogs. The players, the coaches, the victories, the characters, the legends. We love Sanford Stadium, placed perfectly in the natural valley between north and south campus. We love the hedges. We love Uga, the greatest mascot of all time.





We love the memories.

A lot of psychologists – I dated a few psychology majors and married a beautiful one who teaches third grade – will tell you that sounds and smells can trigger memories quicker than sights.

I buy that.

Coming to games in the 1980s are some of my fondest memories. Whether with my mom and dad, Bill and Jean Cheshire, Bob and Jay Deal, who I’d meet in Hopeulikeit at a convenience store heading out of town, Marion and Gary Hulsey and their friend Edward Motes, who once at a tailgate ate a dozen chili dogs from The Varsity and at least twice as many wings. The trips, the journey, the pageantry, and living and dying with the Dawgs, those reflections of a lifetime loving Georgia are special and cherished.

There used to be a double decker bus parked on the bridge next to the northwest corner of the end zone. The guy on top was fully lubricated and had a megaphone, cheering on the Dawgs, heckling opposing fans, and saying hello to some of the beautiful Bulldog Belles.

Inside the stadium, with senses in overload, there’s one I’ll never forget. A smell, so beautiful and majestic, it delighted the senses so, that to this day, if even a scant hint of this aromatic delight is in the air, my mind immediately bounces back to a warm Saturday and 13-6 victory over South Carolina in 1987.

Peanut hulls, cigarette smoke and bourbon.

If there was a cologne, it would rival Cosmo Kramer’s “The Beach.”

Those memories are a lot better since Georgia is amongst the upper crust aristocracy of college football, these reigning national champion Bulldogs aiming for a sixth straight top ten finish and major bowl game – and then some.

It’s a tough trick to honor tradition and continue to evolve. Georgia has done a magnificent job with such.

For the sake of argument, this 50-year old will call anything that began in the 21st century a ‘new tradition.’

On ‘Bulldogs Live’ one Monday night a couple of years ago, playing the radio game I invented that will someday make me insanely wealthy called “Above, Below & In Between,” our distinguished panel of Alan Thomas, Road Dawg Adam Gillespie, Ben Brandenburg and yours truly ranked Georgia’s ‘new traditions’ per our order of preference.

It was like picking my favorite Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model of the 80s, Elle, Kathy or Christie. Kathy Ireland was my favorite, but they were all great.

All of these are great, too.

The Dawg Walk gets everyone – players, fans, coaches – in the mood early.

The Lone Trumpeter at the bottom of the upper deck in the southwest corner of the end zone playing the Battle Hymn of the Bulldog Nation is a sure first goose bump inducer. Then comes the greatest voice ever on the glory filled jaunt down memory lane, two words … Go Dawgs – with the Legendary Voice of the Georgia Bulldogs, the incomparable mighty Larry Munson. Legend.

The best P.A. man in the land, Brooke Whitemire bellowing, “if your blood runs red and black, get on your feet and let’s make some Sanford Stadium noise, for your reigning national champion Georgia Bulldogs!”

When Kirby invites the Georgia faithful to rise and join him as we “attack the day.” Straight into The Who’s Baba O’Reily and that accompanying video.

And when it’s fourth quarter time, as the Redcoat Band begins “Krypton,” when the sun has set on an Athens Saturday, the stadium lights go off, and it’s time to “Light up Sanford.”

Pageantry personified.

Sounds, sights, feel, throw in some fried chicken and your drink of choice, there’s the taste, and the memories of that uniquely once semi-legal wonderful smell, and there you have it. The Georgia Bulldogs and Sanford Stadium are a timeless and enduring delight to the senses.





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