Throughout the fall and winter seasons, several Weber School students show their dedication and pride for the University of Georgia football team by cheering on the Bulldogs in Athens, where the University of Georgia is located. On game day, Athens is a true representation of a staggering college experience.
So, why do high school students go to college football games almost every weekend that the team has a home game? Jack Toporek, a die-hard Georgia fan and junior at the Weber School, has been to almost every home game in Athens since he was a young kid. Jack claimed, “I have to be there for every single home game. I bleed red and black. The atmosphere is second to none. I have been going to Athens since I was three years old. I have photo proof.” (Photo not available). Junior Isaac Goldman, who has also been going to games since he was a young kid, said, “I love seeing my dawgs (UGA’s mascot is a bulldog) tear it up on the field. The environment is loud and crazy. The tailgate is very fun before the game. It’s just tradition for my family and I to go watch our team play.” Though they don’t attend the university, Jack and Isaac are both extremely dedicated to their team.
Many Weber students are considering UGA as one of their top choices for college. Jack Toporek, proclaimed, “I definitely want to go to Georgia. Both of my parents [went there] and my sister goes there. UGA makes up a big part of my family and our history. The in-state price is very cheap as well, so that is another perk of going there.” The college makes is important to many Weber students lives through family history and traditions. Brent Rodgers, a senior at Weber getting ready to turn in college applications explained, “Just being a fan of the college football team for so long and traveling there every Saturday there was a home game was something I look forward to. Being around other fans and students of the university has always made it my dream school to attend.”
Many fans have pre-game rituals meant to bring their team good luck. Every Saturday, whether Isaac Goldman and Jack Toporek are in Athens at the game or watching from home, they wear the same outfit to ensure a victory. Not just shirts and shorts. These two hardcore Georgia fans wear the same hats, shirts, shorts, belts, socks and shoes every single Saturday UGA is playing. Other crazy fans, such as Brent and Blake Rodgers have lengthy rituals. Brent claimed, “I wake up at around 7 AM and watch College GameDay (a show on ESPN before all the games on Saturday) on TV, unless the game is at UGA. Then, my family will decorate the car with flags on the back two windows and the red pom poms on the dash of my car with a bulldog sticker on the left door and a “G”, on the right. We get to Sanford Stadium two hours early and park at the intramural fields. We throw a football around for 45 minutes and then go into the stadium to watch the players warm up.”
These big fans who go every weekend have some favorite moments in Athens. Jack Toporek’s favorite moment in Athens was the flea flicker (a special play) against Mississippi State University. He said, “That was the moment I believed we were going to be an elite team for a while.” Isaac Goldman’s favorite moment while in Athens was the UGA versus LSU game a few years ago. He said, “It was the greatest game I had ever seen in Athens. It was GameDay. The talent on that field was insane. Georgia won the game.”
Athens sounds like a truly remarkable experience on game day. All high school students should go to Athens for a game. If the Georgia Bulldogs are not your team, going to another game day at a different college will give you a taste of a college experience.