Junior League Dropout on Tailgate Small Talk and "That Fan"

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I like football, I just don’t want to talk about it.

You know what I mean.

Have you ever been to a tailgate and someone asks you, “What is Richt/Bobo/Smart/Eason (insert Georgia coach/player here) thinking?”

Here’s the thing - they really don’t care what you think. They just want you to ask them what they think.

And I really don’t care about what they think. I’m married…go pick on a single girl…I have to talk about this enough with my super-fan husband.

If you’re me, you respond sweetly, “I know. It’s crazy. I hate it…wish they would change it…

...are there any more chicken biscuits?”

Don’t get me wrong - I actually do have an opinion on all things Georgia and Georgia football....Well not all things - but I am invested. (Double Dawg, Stafford and Murray eras, Hartman Fund, Georgia Fund, Magill, etc.)

Like many of you, I wanted Richt to be my dad (or…older gentleman caller)... I was there for the failed blackout jerseys in Sanford and for the last 12 seconds in the Dome in 2012. I had the "I'm Georgia" towel. I’ve been to a rainy Liberty Bowl and many a frat beach throw down complete with 15 girls in a one hotel room. I've passed out in the corridor outside the frat block and had an older girl rip my sorority sticker off (pre-buttons).

I even remember cheering for Joe Cox!

I’m invested. I would tell you my college student resume (wouldn't you love to know) but that was 10 years ago and I’m not an asshole. 

So I don’t want to talk football. I want to talk food, tailgates, gossip, and personal anecdotes, so here we go -

Here’s a primer on how to handle some fans you might get to hang with on any Saturday in Athens. 

I. JV Football Coach Fan: You know a little more than the average bear. You have the program. You heard Hondo talking on the pre-game show. You claim to know Hondo. You plan to listen in to the post game brunch call in show, and man would you love to try the bacon wrapped shrimp JD is talking about. You are interested to see how that guy is going to play on that banged-up knee. You want to know what Coach said at the pre-game interview. You are excited.

You have talked about the spread. You think the players are not as hyped as they should be. You are not a football coach, player, or have anything to do what the sport really. You have no idea what you are talking about.

I love this guy, BUT this girl….yikes…I briefly in my undergrad years flirted with this character. I knew the ins and outs - or thought I did - and I would try to engage my date or his friends with endless, “I think BoBo needs to….” If you knew me then, sorry. If you know me now, you are baffled.

Girls, fine - be that girl if you are so passionate you can’t keep you thoughts to yourself. But if you, like me, are doing this coach routine to win favor or respect from the good ole boys club that is SEC football fans…It’s not going to work. I’m not saying it’s right. It’s just true. It’s annoying. I know, but they talk about it all day….I hear you.

Just save your comments for golden opportunities. I love to do this. Like when hubs says, “who’s that?!” when a player breaks away and you can say without hesitation, “Brian Herrien. He’s one to watch.” Then smile to yourself (maybe just smize under your Tory’s so he can’t see how pleased you are with yourself) well done, well done.

II. The Bro Fan: What a time to be alive for this guy. This is a refreshing fan to be around for those of us who have almost won so many games as Georgia fans. This guy wants to know if the tailgate is open bar, and what we are doing after. This is a person I can hang with. Actually loves Georgia and when you probe a little deeper with them - they went to Georgia and actually know their stuff but they don’t "have time to be all stressed out, man".

They alleviate the tension of a close game by saying very stupid, irrelevant things such as: “they have Chick-Fil-A on this level now”, or “My friend saw Eason downtown and said he was really cool. Really tall but...like, cool”. And my favorite comment, “It’s hot as balls” - said on repeat. I had no idea it was hot out.

JV Football Coach Fan hates this guy. Who even bestowed a ticket upon this idiot? Who game him the privilege to experience Georgia Football? The Bro Fan is oblivious, but he will certainly find his way into a box for the second half and be out DT with the players later. Befriend this guy. JV Football Coach Fan will be unavailable after the inevitable loss. He wants to go home immediately and sit the dark alone. Bro Fan will take you out and split an appetizer with you. Try the Uptown Shrimp - it's delicious! (Is Shrimp my favorite food?)

III. Faking it Fan. Ugh this girl. She’s adorable - guaranteed. Okay, adorable is not the word - you will hear the husbands talk about her in hushed tones. She's HOT. Perfect outfit and hair in 98 degree weather after 6 hours of wandering around from Miledge to North Campus, to Myers Quad. She is so go with the flow. Her sandal broke and she hasn’t eaten since Waffle House at 3 AM but “it’s cool.” I never was this cool, even as a sweet undergrad, I started the day with, “It’s hot. Let’s stay at one tailgate. I’m like the most hungry I have ever been.”  

Faking It Fan is having the best time...just ask her. Usually attached to a friend of a friend. She is either saying something like “I love Todd Gurley.” or “Richt is such a good person.” (Sorry I am showing my age….whatever the equivalent is for these days…) You love Todd Gurley? Like why?

You might catch her saying “Samford Stadium” or “The Arches” if you listen closely. JV Football Coach Fan loves this girl. She might even ask JV Football Coach to explain the game of football. Buckle up. The next 15 minutes will suck if you are an innocent bystander.

She’s wearing an oversized jersey. She doesn’t know anything about Georgia football but she’s there and she’s only getting younger so embrace it. Tolerate her with a smile but the moment she says "yes, ma'am" to you, cut her off (add her to your babysitting list but still - be pissed).

These are just a few of the characters we all know and love come Fall in Athens. The best way to deal with annoying fan overload? Watch a few games from the Pool Pavilion, Big George’s, or The Ugly Dog. You will come back to Athens (For Big Games Only, of course) a renewed fan. 

Stay tuned for more not about the actual game of football. - JLD