Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Being a fan

Thursday August 10, 2006

I’ve had the privilege in the past to have press credentials for various sporting events. I appreciated the opportunities and enjoyed serving those who arranged the credentials for me. It’s a nice change of pace and gives you a different perspective on the games. You get to see little things that escape you in the stands or on TV, and you see sides of the participants and coaches that most don’t get to see. I especially appreciate getting the occasional interview where I can ask the questions that I know are on the minds of fans like myself.

I couldn’t imagine doing it full-time though. Why? It’s a job. There is little if any tailgating. You must (or should) appear outwardly impartial and neutral. After the game, there’s no time to celebrate or enjoy a win – it’s time to get to work filing stories and/or processing pictures. You’re at the game, but there is a disconnect from the fan experience. That’s a big adjustment that most fans couldn’t handle. I just enjoy being a fan too much.

EDSBS has an interview up today with Phil Steele, publisher of the invaluable preseason football guides. He describes how he researches all of the teams and then goes into detail about his setup for the weekends. "In this year’s magazine on page 17 we have a picture of the 12 tvs in front of my desk. I get to watch 12 college games all day long on Saturday and 12 NFL games on Sunday."

To a lot of people, that sounds like heaven. Not to me. Don’t get me wrong – there are a lot worse fates in the world than being surrounded by an endless choice of football games. It’s how I spend bye weeks. But it’s infinitely better to me to be at a Georgia game and immerse myself in the gameday experience. Steele might be surrounded by hundreds of square feet of hi-def college football goodness, but in that same position it would kill me not to be at Sanford Stadium.

What I’m trying to say comes down to this example: In 2002, I was fortunate enough to be on the sidelines for Georgia’s game at Auburn. Most of you immediately recognize the significance of that game. My mission was mostly photography, and I took several rolls of pictures during the game. What stands out is the picture I didn’t or couldn’t take. You’re all familiar with the play – fourth down, David Greene, Michael Johnson, touchdown. It was possibly the biggest play in Georgia football in decades. I was in a perfect position – on the goal line maybe 20 feet away from Johnson’s catch. You can see me in the replay of that catch. I had my camera ready to capture the picture of a lifetime. But I couldn’t move. I had to watch the play. I had to make sure he caught the pass. I forgot about the camera, I missed the picture, but I didn’t care – Georgia had just taken the lead and was on its was to the SEC Championship.

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