Sometimes it's OK to bully the bullies

I started to write a piece about the shape of the economy this week, what with oil and gold hitting record highs and foreclosures doubling again, but that's just depressing and I'm no economist.

Plus, I'm still too happy about beating the evil south of the state line.

Make no mistake, the Florida Gators are evil. Wicked. Villains. They're the cowboys in black hats, the guy tying the screaming woman to the train tracks. They were led for many years by the devil himself, Steve Spurrier. I've heard if you played football for him that you can't get into heaven.

Well that's what I heard.

I hate them. Hate them, hate them, hate them. I wouldn't pull for Florida if they were playing the all-dictator team with Stalin at quarterback. I wouldn't pull for them against aliens if the fate of the world hinged on it. No kidding. You'd see me in a Go Martians T-shirt before you saw me doing that stupid gator chomp thing with my hands.

And yes, it's mostly a product of losing to them for so many years. But it's also a product of having the score run up so high by The Ol' Ball Coach (more appropriately named Old Scratch) and then having to listen to their fans.

Auburn turns fire hoses on us. Tennessee plays "Rocky Top" until you want to put ice picks in your ears. Georgia Tech people always want to tell you how smart they are. (If they're so smart, why couldn't they figure out how to win more than half a national championship in 1990? How is a half equal to a whole? Must be some super-secret science formula only Tech grads know.)

But Florida wasn't happy just beating us. They wanted to crush us, humiliate us, make us their whipping boys. For years, they've done that. They killed us in our home stadium. They got the phantom timeout in 1993. They took away a good chance for a national title shot a few years ago. They made us a laughingstock. And then bragged about it.

I can't stand bullies. Florida bullied us for years. Spurrier scored 40 when 30 was enough. He wasn't happy with 45 in Sanford Stadium. He had to have, in his own words, "half a hundred." In 1995, already winning 45-17 late in the fourth quarter, he called a trick play just so he could score the most points ever in Sanford.

For that very reason, I usually hate demonstrations of poor sportsmanship. I don't like guys who stand and admire home runs. I don't like touchdown celebrations. You should do like Herschel Walker and act like you've been there before.

But when I saw the entire Georgia team, every single Bulldog, run out on the field Saturday after Knowshon Moreno's first touchdown, I couldn't help but cheer for it. Any other time, against anybody else, I would have been embarrassed and a little ashamed. But not this time.

I cheered. I shouted. I laughed. I clapped. I made a familiar hand gesture at the TV when they showed the Florida fans. I said some words I can't repeat here. I wanted Florida to feel it. I wanted them to know the Dawgs were out for blood.

I cheered even more when Mark Richt told the sideline reporter at halftime that he'd told the team he would be mad if they didn't get a penalty after the first score. That's what I need from our head coach when playing the evil. I wish he hadn't apologized.

We beat Florida. Soundly. That they are the defending national champions made it better.

But the celebration - the one at the beginning of the game, not the end - made it the best. After all, we've beaten Florida before. But Saturday, we Dawgs got what we really wanted.


I know it's a deadly sin. But I didn't play for Spurrier. I can repent.

But not just yet.

E-mail Nate McCullough at nate.mccullough@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Fridays.