Friday, February 6, 2009

What does it mean to wear the G…..?

I ask myself this question every once in a while- what does it means to wear the G. It is a privilege to suit up on Saturdays and run out of the tunnel at Sanford Stadium amid yells from over 92,000 citizens of Bulldawg Nation. Every time I step on the field, I can feel the all the emotion coursing through my body. This is what all of those years of playing in the backyard and all of those hours of practice are for. For sixty minutes on Saturday afternoons in the Fall, Sanford Stadium is a field of dreams. Countless boys, young and old, have dreamt of wearing the oval “G” and representing what being a Bulldawg is all about. I and my teammates get that opportunity every time we put on the “G”.

The first time I heard the phrase “playing for the G”, I was in freshman orientation for the signing class of 2005. We sat in a room for seven hours going over what would be expected of us as freshmen student-athletes. Chester Adams, one of the upper classmen, spoke about wearing the “G”. At first I did not understand what it meant; I did not know that I was not just playing for myself but for all the men that have ever worn the “G”. I tell the guys everyday that what we do here reflects on the whole program. Georgia football is bigger than any one player on the team. I asked some of my teams this same question, “what does it mean to wear the ‘G’?” Rod Battle said “playing for the ‘G’ is like competing for the United States in the Olympics. It’s my home state, a place where I’ll be forever connected to. Plus I have all the extended family members I have grown to love here”.

Since I am not from Georgia wearing the “G” has a different meaning to me. Playing for Georgia has changed my life in so many different ways; I have grown spiritually, mentally and physically. I have grown spiritually by finding Christ as my Lord and Savor, our team Chaplin, Thomas Settles, has been like a big brother to me. I have grown mentally at Georgia because of the high priority on educational excellence. I have grown physically at Georgia by getting bigger, faster, and stronger. When I step on the field next season I will play every game like it is my last. This is what it means to me to wear the “G”.

Everybody that has played football at the University of Georgia has a special memory about wearing the “G”. I can remember my first time running onto the field as a Georgia Bulldog. It was in 2005 against Boise State; I did not know what to expect. My heart felt like it was beating five hundred miles per second; on the first play from scrimmage Tony Taylor caught an interception and the crowd went crazy. I also remember my first time getting into that game. I was so nervous I could not even concentrate on the play call. By the end of the game, however, I made three tackles in my first collegiate game.

I look back from 2005 and see where I am today. I was only a pup then and I did not know that with great privilege comes great responsibility. Now that I’m a full grown Bulldog, I know that wearing the “G” on Saturdays speaks volumes. I not only wear it for myself but for all the legends that have come before me, like the Hines Wards’, Thomas Davis’, Greg Blues’ and the countless other men who have carried on our great tradition. I wear the “G” in honor of the history that has been made in Athens and the history that has yet to be created. It is an honor and I am very thankful to have an opportunity to play for the University of Georgia.