First home game for new Jackets fan a thrill

A few weeks ago, I announced that I would be rooting for Georgia Tech this season despite being a University of Tennessee graduate and lifelong Vols fan.

Not that I've stopped pulling for UT, you understand. I've just stopped admitting it in public.

Anyway, I'm happy to report that the response to my announcement has been overwhelmingly positive. Mostly.

For example, I received the following e-mail from someone close to the Tech program: "Dear Rob, Thank you for the nice editorial in the Gwinnett Daily Post, and welcome to the Yellow Jacket family. We look forward to having you spend some spectacular Saturdays with us! (signed) Dan Radakovich."

On the other end of the spectrum, however, I also received this e-mail: "Dear Rob, May your home be infested with termites, your body covered in carbuncles, and your children forced to attend the University of Florida. (signed) Philip Fulmer."

Guess you can't please everybody.

For the record, since I pledged allegiance to the Jacket Nation, Tech has gone 2-1, with a historic win over Florida State, and is still in the hunt for an ACC title. Tennessee has been pounded by two SEC opponents, including the hated Gators, and is in the hunt only for a new coach.

So I think my decision speaks for itself.

I'm also happy to report that my first trip to Bobby Dodd Stadium as a Jackets fan last weekend was a complete success. In fact, given the narrowness of our victory over the Seminoles (see, I can say "our" now), I'm not sure we would have won if I hadn't been there to tip the balance.

OK, I'm kidding - sort of. But my fellow Tech fans should know this: I've never been to a Tennessee game where the Vols lost. Sure, I haven't been to that many games lately, but Tennessee has won all of them, including the spring game a few years ago.

For that matter, I've done pretty well at Bobby Dodd. Note that this was my first game as a Yellow Jacket, not my first trip overall. I also saw UGA and Tech play a few days after Thanksgiving in 1981 when I was, inexplicably, rooting for Herschel Walker and the Bulldogs.

I also saw one of my favorite musicians, Paul Simon, renew his feud with Art Garfunkel onstage in the south end zone during the summer of '83.

For the record, it was Bulldogs over Jackets, Simon over Garfunkel.

Anyway, my point is that I had a great time at the FSU game, whooping it up with the Tech faithful. And that was just when the announcer updated the Georgia-Florida score. The fact that Tech won, and in such dramatic fashion, made the experience even better.

As a Tennessee fan, it was good to see somebody else fumble on the goal line for once.

Rob Jenkins is associate professor of English at Georgia Perimeter College. E-mail him at rjenkinsgdp@yahoo.com.