I was talking to a college friend who I hadn’t seen in a coupe of years who was recently engaged at the end of last summer. As long as I had known her, she was a Tech fan and had even been to several games with me. Coincidentally, every game she had attended with me, we had lost.
After catching up for a bit, I asked how she was handling being engaged to a Uga fan. She sheepishly replied that she had started cheering for the team to the east after they started dating. "Tech never wins anything," she said. "I went to all these games with him in Athens. Before I realized it, I had stopped caring about Tech and realized I was actively pulling for Uga. It just sort of happened."
I was really taken aback. I didn’t even know it was possible to flip allegiances that easily in a rivalry…. Whether it’s Red Sox and Yankees, Falcons and Saints, etc… There’s nothing in my being capable of that.
On a related note, the most appalling person to me in all of sports would happen to be a Uga, New Orleans Saints, and Washington Nationals fan.
Anyway, my friend got me thinking. Was there ever I time I didn’t want to cheer for Tech? Had I ever considered dropping them as my main team? I know they’ve had up and down years lately, but was it ever bad enough to look for a new team? And even if it was, could I switch to being a fan of one of our rivals? I was raised in white and gold… could they play poorly enough that I abandoned that?
I remember watching the Chikfila Bowl in 2008 against LSU with a friend who was a lifelong Tech fan, but an Auburn alum. I remember Tech getting blown out of the Georgia Dome that night. All the Tech fans in the stadium were leaving early, and the place looked empty by the start of the 4th. After that game, my friend ceased cheering for Tech. It’s too painful. It happens too regularly. I can’t watch this happen anymore.
All of these things got me thinking, was there ever a time I considered switching teams? Or at least wanted to stop caring about Tech football? Not switching to a rival or anything, but to maybe Auburn or something.
Sure enough, that 2008 game against LSU made me want to stop cheering for Tech, once I thought about it. Despite beating Uga that year, I was just tired of mediocrity and not being able to beat the big, bad teams that surround us and that all my friends cheered for.
However, I pressed on.
The only other time I doubted my fandom was at halftime of the Wofford game this previous year. Tech looked awful, the stadium was half empty, and we were up by 1 point to an FCS team called the Terriers at the half. I can still see the guy a couple rows behind me turn to his middle-school-aged son and say, "Son, I’m sorry I raised you a Tech fan. No one should have to see this."
Also not helping things that game was that I had agreed to take a Uga fan with me, who proceeded to run her mouth the entire time about how bad Tech was, how empty the stadium was, etc… In my defense, it was a really pretty girl.
In what was perhaps the most visible and literal display of karma I’ll ever witness, mid-sentence of her talking trash, a yellow jacket flew up to the edge of her sunglasses and stung her on the cheek. She didn't speak to me for like 6 months after that afternoon... Deservedly so.
All that to say is that those are the times I’ve doubted being a Tech fan. I’m still here. It’s certainly more difficult than being an Alabama fan, even with our stellar 2014 in the rearview. I'm also not a Tech alum, so my allegiance isn't based on attending school there either.
So how about you, dear reader? Was there ever a time you thought about jumping ship? If so, what game or season made you want to switch your allegiance?