The Perfect Quarter

For the first time in a long while, Charlie Brown actually kicked the ball. That’s what the Georgia – Georgia Tech rivalry has felt like for the last seven years. No matter the convincing, the confidence, the hoping, Lucy would always pull the away, every year. Tech would lose in embarrassingly ugly ways (51-7 in 2002) and in close, stomach punching ways (14-7 in 2005 and 15-12 in 2006), but Tech would always lose and this year appeared to be no different. Tech was totally incapable of stopping Matthew Stafford’s passing, particularly to Mohamed Massaquoi. With UGA leading 21-12 with only 1:32 left in the half at their own 44, I figured they would go conservative and take a lead into halftime. However, Mark Richt went for the jugular and Georgia passed their way down the field and when Massaquoi caught the touchdown pass to make the score 28-12 I muttered, “that’s the ball game.”

But then came the third quarter. That Third Quarter in Athens that will be talked about for years to come. Examine, if you will, the third quarter of this game. On Tech’s first play, Jonathan Dwyer breaks loose for a 60 yard to score a touchdown and then he scores the two-point conversion. Georgia goes three and out. Tech moves the ball fifty yards down the field over the course of five minutes to score another touchdown. Georgia fumbles the kickoff ball and Tech recovers. Dwyer rushes 23 yards for a touchdown on the first play. Georgia is forced to punt after only five plays. Tech drives down the field to kick a field goal. Georgia stalled again as the quarter ends. The numbers for the third quarter are staggering. Tech moved the ball 215 yards in the quarter alone, some teams don’t get that in a whole game, compared to Georgia’s 37. Tech scored 26 unanswered points to take the lead 38-28.

Of course, this being Georgia, I knew they would find a way to come back. Even leading by 10 with only four minutes remaining, I had been conditioned to expect the worst. And when Georgia score, of course they did, it looked like the same old same old was about to happen again. But Tech never gave the ball back, eating up the remaining four minutes of the game. For the first time since 2000, the last time I watched the game with my dad, it should be noted, there wouldn’t be any taunts, any nerd jokes, any barking, just sweet victory.

It’s one thing to lose to your rival multiple years in row, but when it reaches seven, you start to wonder if your team will ever win again. To Paul Johnson’s credit, he totally changed the attitude of the team and it showed today. I don’t think a Chan Gailey team could have possibly recovered from a 28-12 score at halftime. Johnson went 9-3 and beat Georgia in a year where he inherited all of the players, most of them freshmen and sophomores, and played under scholarship restrictions. What’s he going to do when he gets all of his own players and has a full compliment of scholarships?

As for Georgia, they might win next year, but at least it won’t the anything-th in a row. It’s a rivalry again.

Thanksgiving Eve

Here we are the night before Thanksgiving and I thought I’d list out a couple of things that I’m thankful for this year.

  • I’m thankful that we get to have two thanksgivings. We traveled down to Savannah last week and we’re traveling out to my parents’ house this weekend. That’s two turkeys and two servings of dressings. That’s a lot of food and its all good.
  • I’m thankful that each trip is less than four hours and we enjoy going both places. A lot of people dread visiting the in-laws, either one set of parents or the other, but not us.
  • I’m thankful for our two little sprites. They are growing bigger everyday and developing such personalities. It’s hard to believe a year ago they were so tiny and fragile. Now they are rough and tumble little girls.
  • I’m thankful for those last couple of quiet hours in the evening after the girls go to bed. It’s nice to sit back and recharge before starting the whole cycle again the next day.
  • I’m thankful that amidst all the economic uncertainty, I am (at least for now) still employed. I don’t know what the next year holds, but hopefully things will continue to go well on the job front.
  • I’m thankful we’re now full-on into my favorite season of the year. It only gets better from here.

Coldplay at Philips Arena, 2008


Adriene and I ventured out of the house (and actually got a babysitter, gasp) to go see Coldplay at Philips Arena last night. She’s a bigger fan of Coldplay than I am, but I like them well enough. She’s written up a pretty good review on her site that I’m just going to link to. The show was a lot of fun and it was nice to go out on the town for a night.

The photo of the concert was taken with Adriene’s cell phone. I’ve gotten spoiled with all my whizz-bang photography equipment, but this picture turned out kinda cool in an impressionist painting kind of way.

And mystic sweet communion with those whose rest is won.

Since we moved to Powder Springs, I haven’t had many chances to go back to the church of my childhood. I didn’t grow up in a small town, but I did go to a small church which in many ways was like a church in a small town. The church we attended had only 100 members and truth be told, in some ways I liked that more than the church of a thousand that I’m at now (but, paradoxically, I am at where I think God wants me at, so there’s that.) Sometimes at larger churches, it seems people divide up by age or race. In a small church, you have no choice but to interact with everyone. We didn’t have a “teen Sunday School” or “20s and 30s Sunday School”, we just had Sunday School. In Youth Group, in our age group there were usually only 8 to 10 of us, and we knew everything about each other because we had grown up with each other and we had no choice but to get along with each other. When we went on a mission trip, most of us were teenagers, but we also had adults working with us. In fact, one of the hardest workers was a little old lady working with the children each day.

When I heard that our church was celebrating its 35th anniversary, I wanted to be sure to be there. I was eager to see friends I hadn’t seen in many years, and I knew many people would love to see our daughters for the first time. Adriene and I made the drive across Atlanta and enjoyed a short service, hymns, and dinner with old friends. I wish my parents had been able to make it also but they had other plans, I think they would have enjoyed seeing people, too. It was a bit of a shock seeing families that had young children when I left now having high school and college aged children. Or people that were my age or younger now grown up as adults, but it was nonetheless great to see them again. Some of the members have passed on since I had been there, but we were able to share good memories of them with everyone.

The church has always benefited from excellent teaching from the pulpit and two of the three pastors returned that night to speak shortly, also joined by the excellent Charles Dunahoo who served as an interim pastor. The original pastor of the church was unable to attend, but I was glad to hear Pastor Charles DeBardeleben and Pastor Robert Jackson speak again, if for a short time. In my spiritual journey, I’ve attended many different churches of many different dominations, but I think these two men shaped by beliefs and theology more than anyone.

I’m thankful for the people of the church and the way they shaped me as a child and a young adult. If we lived over on that side of Atlanta, I might still be going to church there, but that’s not where the Lord wants me at this stage of my life. I hope that someday I have the same fond memories of the people at my church now as I do of the people at my old church.

My Birthday Gift, A Fumble In The Endzone


I’m not really one to make a big deal about my birthday. I don’t know, it wasn’t ever a big event when I was a child. We had parties and all, but by the time I was a teenager, it was usually just dinner and some presents. Not that I’m complaining, I’ve always liked it that way. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve made less and less of deal of it because I’m not so much on the “making fun of someone because they are old” thing. Some of you may remember how poorly I took my 30th birthday. So, this year when my birthday fell on a Saturday that Georgia Tech was playing football, I was fine with celebrating the day at the stadium. A Tech win would be a bonus, but just getting out of the house and watching a football game was good enough.

Georgia Tech would be playing Florida State. For most of the students and players, this was just another big ACC matchup, but for most people that graduated when I did, we have a little bit of a complex about Florida State. Tech hadn’t beaten FSU in 12 tries in a row. Most of those years Tech got destroyed by the Seminoles, but in the later years it became a Sisyphean task where Tech would always come close, but never win the game. This game was, by all accounts, pretty even going in, but me and my friends knew it was Florida State. There would be bad officiating, a bad bounce of the football, and something bad would happen.

The game played out in a familar way, Tech took a lead into halftime 24-20 and then in the third quarter added another touchdown to lead 31-20 and it appeared like Tech was starting to pull away. Then, it all started happening again. Our quarterback was injured and out of the game. A missed holding call in FSU’s own endzone and then a zipping pass to the endzone closed the game to 31-26 and FSU converted the two point conversion (naturally) and suddenly they were within a field goal. Of course, Tech threw an interception and suddenly the unstoppable ‘Noles were driving down the field again with less than five minutes to play. I turned to my friend and said glumly, “this is playing out just like 1992.”

You see, in 1992, I was senior in high school and on my way to Georgia Tech the next year. I was listening to the game on the radio and during the fourth quarter I drove out to pick up a pizza for the family. I listened to the game on the car radio and when I reached the pizza place, Tech lead 24-13 with only four minutes to go. By the time I got out of the car, picked up the pizza, got back in the car and turned the car radio on, Tech was losing 27-24. I was horrified. How could they possibly lose this game? But that’s the way it always is with Georgia Tech.

And so I watched in dread as FSU drove down the field, knowing that inevitably, once again, Florida State would beat Georgia Tech in stomach-punching fashion. And then something funny happened, on his way to the endzone, Cooper Taylor hit the running back in the hands with his helmet and the ball popped out of his hands. The next thing I knew, I was crushed at the bottom of a celebrating dog-pile. For once, fate had smiled upon us and Tech had won. Students flooded the field and we celebrated in the stands. I’ve had a lot of birthdays, but this would be one of the more memorable ones for sure.

More pictures on my Flickr site!