The Madison County Journal
August 18, 1999
Time to get the red sea rockin'
Though it may now seem like summer and those lazy 95-plus degree
days have no end in sight, that old familiar time of year is
just a flip of the calendar away.
I'm of course referring to the fall college pigskin season -
the best time of year if you ask some people (me included), which
kicks into full swing next month.
So for those of us in the Peach State, loyal to the red and black,
of course, that means it will soon be time to pack up the car
with our various tailgating essentials and fire up the grill
southern-style as we trek to Sanford Stadium to watch the 'Dawgs
wage war against their SEC enemies.
The thought alone is enough to make you squirm in your seat if
Georgia football is a year-round passion for you.
But even though things seem to be on the upswing with the Georgia
football picture these days (the 'Dawgs own a 19-5 record over
the past two years), I would like to express a concern that has
been on my mind as a Georgia fan for the past 12 seasons - crowd
noise (or lack of, I should say).
That's right, the volume "between the hedges" needs
to be turned up quite a few notches, because in the past few
years the crowd noise at times has seemed to be on life support.
I just honestly don't think that anybody is as intimidated coming
into Sanford Stadium as they would be going to other "battlefields"
throughout the conference.
I remember once, after Florida dismantled the 'Dawgs 52-17 in
Sanford Stadium in 1995, Gator coach Steve Spurrier called Georgia's
homefield "a nice little place to play in - not like the
other places we go to."
Well, gee thanks, Steve.
With a capacity of 86,117, Sanford Stadium is hardly a little
place to play in, which makes it kind of confusing as to why
you can actually hear yourself think while you're there on a
Maybe we've taken this Southern hospitality thing a bit too far
at UGA. There's nothing wrong with being rude to the opposing
team, because they're surely going to do it to you when you go
to their place.
I have a ticket to the Bulldogs' matchup against the Vols this
October up in Knoxville and fully expect to get blasted by the
noise of 100,000 obnoxious, orange-clad patrons screaming at
the top of their lungs for Bulldog blood when they're not bellowing
out that "Rocky Top" song that they have such an affection
If I ever had to go down to "The Swamp" or whatever
they call that stadium down in Gainesville, Fla., I would be
prepared to have to contend with 80,000 fans mindlessly doing
that Gator chomp while making earthshaking noise to back their
And there are other stadiums in the conference that have similar
reputations as being places you'd better stay away from.
LSU's Tiger Stadium immediately jumps into my mind when I think
of unfriendly confines to try to win a football game in. They
have been known to get more than a little crazy down there on
the bayou when it comes to football as LSU's home has been named
"the most feared place to play in America" by numerous
publications over the years due to the noise level generated
by their fans. In fact, in a legendary but factual story, the
Tiger faithful erupted with so much euphoria after upsetting
Auburn in 1988 that it set off the seismograph machine at a nearby
geology building on campus.
Well folks, I know for a fact that the geology building at UGA
is a stone's throw away from Sanford Stadium and Georgia fans
have never been able to duplicate such a story.
Maybe this is just all in my head, but when I'm at the stadium
on Saturdays, even though I do my best to be an inhospitable
fan, I feel I must hold back because I don't want to look like
an idiot for "excessive yelling" for my team due to
the good number of people who remain quiet. I just think that
this probably wouldn't be a problem at Auburn or South Carolina
or any of the other schools I've named.
I would just like to see the day when Georgia fans join together
in a collective voice and get the red-clad sea at Sanford Stadium
rocking and rolling and making the place just a totally unpleasant
place to play a football game, if you're not wearing those red
helmets and silver britches.
So when you're at a game this season and if you side with the
red and black, have fun, let your voice be heard and make some
Sanford Stadium noise.
The way I see it, you've always got the other six days of the
week to be quiet.
Ben Munro is a reporter for The Madison
The Madison County Journal
August 18, 1999
- Frankly Speaking
of freedom is information
We Americans often brag about our freedom,
and it is true that we are among the most free people on earth.
However, too many of us take that freedom for granted. We do
not remember the great effort that was required to win that freedom.
Nor do we realize just how easily freedom can be lost. In fact,
many Americans are not as free as they could be.
In order to be truly free, a person must be able to be self-sufficient,
not dependent on anyone for their needs. Self sufficiency requires
a person to have job skills to earn their own money, social skills
to function in our society without conflict and self-knowledge
to understand who and what he or she is.
With these skills, anyone of you can map out the direction you
wish your life to go. You can make your own decisions, select
the place you will live, who your neighbors will be, what religion
you wish to believe - or not believe at all.
I have said many times that every human is unique. No two are
ever the same. No two have the same needs, the same desires or
the same ability. Any program that attempts to force people into
categories or groups in order to address their problems denies
human individuality and reduces freedom.
When a school system establishes a single course of study and
requires that all the students conform to the same program, they
are denying basic freedom. When a small religious group decides
that they alone have found the truth and attempts to impose their
doctrine on the rest of society, they are a serious threat to
our liberty. When people make no effort to earn their own income,
and rather live on a government dole or depend on "affirmative
action" to get them jobs for which they are not qualified,
they give up their freedom to the government bureaucrats who
provide their livelihood.
The source of freedom is information. Those of us who know how
to find a job, or create our own job, have financial freedom.
Those of us who learn the inside workings of our political system,
and how to use that system, have political freedom. Those of
us who study the teachings of numerous religious groups and find
those beliefs that match our needs have religious freedom.
Today, there is a greater volume of information available than
ever before. We have well-stocked libraries, and are continuously
building more and better libraries. We have thousands of magazines,
newspapers and other sources that give us a flood of news and
information. Rather than a few television channels that are available
in most countries, we have hundreds. Home computers have become
so advanced and inexpensive that most American homes can afford
them, and the tons of information that can be obtained via floppy
disk, CD-Roms and the World Wide Web.
The only deterrent to true freedom in this country is lack of
education. Before anyone can make use of all the information
now available, they must be literate. They must be able to read
the books, newspapers and magazines. They have to have a vocabulary
large enough to understand and learn from the programs on science,
news, social problems, religion and other topics on television.
They have to be "computer literate" in order to tap
the vast storehouse of information stored in the on-line data
It is easy to get the necessary education. We have public schools
available to everyone. We have specialized public and private
schools to cover any subject you may wish to study.
There are trade schools that teach you job skills, and adult
education to improve personal skills.
We can all be free. We can all control our own destiny. We have
everything we need. All those who are not experiencing complete
freedom need is some motivation and guidance.
"Give a man a fish and he will eat another day. Teach him
to fish, and he will eat for a lifetime."
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison