The Great War saw terrible affronts against the goodness of mankind. Trench warfare was the MO. Chemical warfare was born, and too many of the world's young were punished by mankind's new weaponry. World War I is the reason that the term "war of attrition," where Doughboys fought through the first mechanized war, is burned into your memory from high school history.
Wilfred Owen's "Dolce Et Decorum Est" is one of the few pieces of literature that has left an indelible mark on me. Owen was an a Welsh officer in the British military during WWI. I'll share his work with you.
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.
I will willingly grant that I'm not being fair to Owen's original point about the glory of war. Also, I'll be the first to admit that I very well may be living in the past with this post. I personally know dozens of UGA fans that do not fall into the easily mocked, completely clueless (and quickly dwindling) mass of bandwagon fans that drag their ass-ends on the ground, slobber on each other, and bark like the animals they are.
However, I'm going to share with everyone the redux of how this rivalry got really, really nasty. To quote the obvious go-to, Wikipedia:
Fuel was added to the fire in 1919, when UGA mocked Tech's continuation of football during the United States' involvement in World War I. At the time, Tech was a military training ground and had a complete assembly of male students. Many schools, such as UGA, had lost all of their able-bodied male students to the war effort forcing them to temporarily suspend football during the war. In fact, UGA did not play a game from 1917–1918. When UGA renewed its program in 1919, the student body staged a parade, which mocked Tech's continuation of football during times of war. The parade featured a tank shaped float emblazoned with the words "UGA IN ARGONNE" followed by a yellow-clad donkey and a sign that read "TECH IN ATLANTA." This act would lead directly to Tech cutting athletic ties with UGA and canceling several of UGA's home football games at Grant Field (UGA commonly used Grant Field as its home field). Tech and UGA would not compete in athletics until the 1921 Southern Conference basketball tournament. Regular season competition would not renew until a 1925 agreement between the two institutions.
This was 90 years ago. I won't be the guy that holds someone accountable for the sins of their fathers; however, if you've ever listened to the inane drivel that comes out of the mouths of the random u[sic]ga fan's mouth, I'm sure you've heard something that, while not comparing in terms of sheer outrage, is similar regarding the level of idiocy, ignorance, and inexcusabillity (definitely an improvised word... bear with me) that this story carries.
I don't want to pretend like anyone I know, Tech or georgia fan, is guilty of this kind of obscene disrespect. The people that support georgia that I call friends for 51 weeks out of the year will (hopefully) shake their heads when they read this account of a pretty severe insult to faithful members of our armed forces. To be honest, there is only one more incident* that displays a more clear-cut disregard for any sort of respect between the two programs. In this case, I don't blame today's dawg fans.
With that said, I'll be damned if something like this story is forgotten. georgia's (mostly non-existent) tradition still has to answer for its history. "To HELL with georgia" did not just appear out of nowhere. This expression wasn't just a good ribbing, and those Tech men before me were not simply enjoying a rivalry. No, sir - lines have been crossed that no goodwill between fans, however calm, friendly, and even loving can ever repair. This is not just a rivalry.
It is Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate. To HELL With georgia!
*You can count on reading about that event here at From The Rumble Seat.