Even before the season began, my wife and I talked about what games we were going to attend. Living in Macon, having a new baby, and both having jobs that require travel, we had to be strategic with what games we could attend. It ain’t as easy as it used to be packing up and going to Athens.
We decided we would go to South Carolina, LSU, Missouri and Florida. I think, all things considered, that was pretty good. Now, after we went up for the Missouri game, I gave the App State and Kentucky tickets to my brother so he could go.
RANDOM SIDE NOTE: I hate scalpers. I’d rather give my tickets away or simply tear them up and throw them on the ground than deal with them.
Usually after the team loses, that is when people give up going or become disinterested. After the heartbreaking defeat to Auburn, the game was still barely over, I was sitting on my couch and told my wife I want to go to the Kentucky game. Not becuase it was a night game. Not becuase I’d have to order ESPNU. No, the reason I wanted to go to the Kentucky game was becuase I wanted to see Aaron Murray play in Sanford Stadium one last time. I wanted to stand up and cheer for him on Senior Night. I had a friend that gave me a free ticket so I wouldn’t have to pay for another after I’ve already paid for two.
That may sound stupid. I am 1 of 92,746. My attendence there wasn’t going to make his ovation any louder. But after watching his performance against Auburn, I thought I owed it to him to show up and cheer him on one last time. Murray has played his guts out for us for the last four years. His contributions to the program go well beyond the records, the two SEC East division titles, the wins over Florida, the near chance of winning a National Championship. His legacy, to me, will be that of a selfless guy who played his heart out while at the same time stabilizing the Georgia program.
Mike Bobo and Mark Richt have certainly had a big part in his development, so they should get credit here. If there is one thing they have proven they can do, it is coach up and develop quarterbacks. I don’t think anyone, even if you negative towards them, can deny that. But Murray’s play has kept both of them gainfully employed by the Univeristy of Georgia. The program was on rocky ground in 2010 and early 2011. Murray came in and was the stabilizing force that helped the program go from losing to UCF in the Liberty Bowl on New Year’s Eve 2010 to going toe to toe with the mighty Alabama and being 5 yards short of a National Title less than two years later.
I stood up and cheered loud when Aaron’s name was called at the end of the Senior line. I wore my black per his request. I had to be there.
The way his career ended at UGA is a damn shame. My favorite character on one of my favorite TV shows, Ben Linus on Lost, once said that destiny is a fickle bitch. That fickle bitch showed her face to Aaron Murray Saturday night. What was to be a celebration of a great career turned sour.
I hate it. My heart breaks. Big picture, I am glad Hutson Mason is getting some game time. He will have two and a half games, and don’t discount the importance of bowl practices, to get ready for next year. But I don’t care about if this means we lose to Tech. I don’t care if we lose the bowl game. Get away from football for just a minute. I hate it for Murray. His NFL potential was already limited. I don’t think he was going to get his shot in the NFL. He just doesn’t have the NFL size. But I was hoping he would have the chance. Now, that chance seems like it is even slimmer than before. He came back for a final year to win a championship. It is painfully poetic that his career would end to an injury, becuase injuries ended our Championship dreams this year.
I said last week that I thought Murray was the best QB in UGA history. I plan on writing more on his impact and what he has done. But right now, I’m just sad for him and his family. As we spend Thanksgiving Day eating turkey and pecan pie, Aaron Murray will be recovering from ACL surgery. As the team prepares to take on their rival on the Flats, Murray will be on crutches watching helplessly from the sideline or on TV. We have much to be thankful for this week. I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful for my beautiful and healthy baby girl. I’m thankful for my sweet and beatiful wife who puts up with me. I’m thankful I have a job I enjoy. I’m thankful that I’m the luckiest guy on this planet who has more to be thankful for than he deserves.
I am also thankful Aaron Murray chose to be a Bulldog. I am thankful that I got to witness him play and lead us to many victories. I am thankful I got to see him play Between the Hedges one last time.