I'm not the guy you see on ESPN, shirtless, with a specific letter that corresponds to my university on my chest. It doesn't strike a chord with me. In fact, you're lucky to find me actually at a game. Or watching ESPN.
However, it pains me not when my school loses an athletic contest. Glory in sports is ever fleeting, so said a wise man. It pains me more when my school is presented in a false light, or when it is embarrassed by some idiotic misstep by the administration. However, the truth hurts, and you sadly have to embrace not only to save face, but to right some kind of wrong.
Last month, three fraternity brothers of Phi Kappa Psi found a raccoon acting in an erratic manner (see "rabid") next to a dumpster in their parking lot. So, they did what any rightminded citizen would do: they skinned, burned and then ate it. Somewhere in the mix they actually put it out of its misery.
Since the incident, people have been up in arms, with the majority voicing dissent at what occurred, and calling for criminal charges, which appears what happened today (http://onlineathens.com/stories/020504/pmg_raccoon.shtml).
The students involved have apologized, but that doesn't seem to be enough.
Because of the interesting mix that makes this great city, you have down south (I won't call them rednecks) purists yelling that it is no different than hunting, to others saying that those protesting obviously don't know the absolute gourmet appeal of raccoon meat. Some voices in the fray want the students prosecuted and expelled. One voice questioned those speaking for the raccoon's rights, wondering how they felt about abortion when compared to the murder of an animal (http://onlineathens.com/stories/011004/let_20040110018.shtml). The local intelligentsia are involved, plus the townie movement.
You'd think it was local, but it just made The Drudge Report (www.drudgereport.com). Dear God help us.
It's nice to know that when I finally get my piece of paper from UGA, and I hand my resume to a hopeful employer, the first thing that will spring to mind won't be "That University of Georgia is a sound school with a top-notch journalism program and excellent professors, and a vibrant and eclectic surrounding town whose culture is unparalleled."
No, they will think, "Oh, geez, this kid comes from UGA, where they put checkered-past thugs on the athletic teams, let bobos run rampant in administration who siphon funds from deserving teaching positions (take a pay cut, Mr. Adams), and have kids eating raccoons out of dumpsters." Oh, excuse me, next to dumpsters.
I can only hope this won't be the case. I can only hope that Athens will shine once again. Or at least regain a little bit of that luster it proudly boasted when I first arrived.
For your information and consideration...
My love and condolences to Mary Kent Anderson and the entire Anderson family, in Georgia and elsewhere, for the loss of their beloved James "Tommy" Anderson. My heart and support goes out to them, and promises steadfast to remain there.