I once drove from Pennsylvania to Florida (yes, that road trip was as horrible as it sounds) to watch the opening weekend races leading up to the Daytona 500. On our way South, we spent a night in Athens, Georgia. It was my first time visiting The Peach State, but I couldn’t escape this strange feeling like I was on a totally different planet.
The place was gorgeous. I felt like I couldn’t walk 15 feet downtown without passing a bar. Plus, everywhere I turned, people were just hanging out on their front porch. (Keep in mind, this was a semi-warm day in the middle of February.) I had to figure out what made these people tick, and after only a few conversations, I landed on one conclusion: there’s just no place like Athens. Straight from the people I met, here are 15 sure-fire signs you were born to be Georgia Bulldog.
1. You Know Dog is Really Spelled D-A-W-G
No where else in the world is dog spelled “dawg,” but in Athens, that’s the only way you spell it.
2. You Hate Yellow Jackets, Both the Bees and the People
Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate isn’t just something meant for sibling rivalries. It’s also one of the best rivalries in all of college football between the Georgia Bulldogs and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
3. You Ring a Bell Anytime Something Good Happens
The Chapel Bell rings out across downtown and the north part of campus after big athletic victories, graduations, and other special occasions. Naturally, one of the houses I visited had their own smaller bell sitting in its living room because you never know when something amazing will happen.
4. Almost All Your Clothing is Red or Black
If you expect to walk around on game day wearing anything else, you’re sadly mistaken.
5. Herschel Walker is the Greatest Player Ever. Period.
There are great athletes. There are transcendent football players. Then, there’s Herschel Walker. The only person in NCAA history to finish in the top-3 of the Heisman Trophy voting THREE TIMES was a Bulldog, and you’re never going to convince a single UGA football fan inside Sanford Stadium that he’s not the greatest to ever do it.
6. A Tree Owning Itself is Perfectly Normal
According to Atlas Obscura, William H. Jackson planted a white oak tree on an 8-foot plot of land and granted it autonomy before he died. That original tree now has a son, the “Son of the Tree That Owns Itself.” Legally, a tree doesn’t own property, but the people of Athens really couldn’t care less.
7. Treating a Dog Like Royalty is the Law
Uga, the University of Georgia’s live mascot, is in its tenth descendent, each one getting more and more popular over the years. Sure, every dog is basically royalty in its owner’s eyes, but in Athens, Uga is truly a King amongst mere mortals.
8. You Know What “Snellebrating” Is, and It’s Awesome
Several times I asked, “What’s the go-to spot for grub on campus?” Every single time I got the same answer: Snelling. The 24-hour dining commons is a weekly hotspot to grab breakfast after midnight and log late-night study sessions when midterms and finals inevitably roll around.
9. Larry Munson is the Only Voice of College Football
From 1966 to 2008, the famous voice of the Dawgs famously made calls like “Run Lindsay Run” in 1980 and “We just stepped on their face with a hobnailed boot and broke their nose!” when Georgia beat Tennessee in 2001. Following his death, around 3,500 Georgia faithful attended a ceremony at Sanford Stadium to honor the legend.
10. You Only Recognize 49 U.S. States
Classic Georgia football rivals include Auburn, Clemson, Florida and Georgia Tech, but only one team (and state) is truly the marquee rival these days: Alabama. The Tide beat the Dawgs in the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship and the next year’s SEC Championship game in Atlanta.
Sorry, Alabama. You don’t exist in DawgNation.
11. The Hedges in Your Front Yard are Perfectly Trimmed
It’s incredibly rare for Georgia fans to rush the field at Sanford Stadium. Going “Between the Hedges” is hallowed ground meant for only the biggest moments. Not surprisingly, every single shrub I passed in Athens was perfectly trimmed, too.
12. You Could Find Every Bulldog Around Athens
I couldn’t help but notice random bulldog statues all around downtown. I came to find out that there are actually three dozen painted statues all around town. The We Let the Dawgs Out Art Exhibit generated thousands of dollars in donations to AIDS Athens and many are still on display today!
13. Kirby Smart is Basically Family
Since taking over the Georgia football program as head coach in 2016, Smart led the Dawgs to back-to-back 11-win seasons and already has an SEC Championship under his belt in only three seasons. A loss in the Sugar Bowl last year to Texas was tough to swallow, but it was still an incredible season in year three.
Smart played defensive back for Georgia in the late 1990s, so the UGA faithful can probably overlook the fact that he was born in Montgomery, Alabama. Kirby is a Dawg through and through, and a national title seems inevitable while he’s in Athens.
14. Calling the Dawgs is Like Saturday Prayer
The first time I heard this, I had no idea what to do as Bulldog fans called back the chant like they were reciting the alphabet. At the end, everybody yelled, “SIC ‘EM! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF!” and I knew how serious they were about their Bulldogs.
15. Everyone You Know is a “Damn Good Dawg”
Georgia Bulldogs fans are just built differently. They come in all shapes and sizes, but there’s only one way to identify each and every one of them. Every single one of them are DGDs, otherwise known as “Damn Good Dawgs.”
What did I miss in my trip to Athens? What else makes you a die-hard Georgia Bulldog fan? Let us know!