Are you ready for Irma and some football?

Published 3:30 pm Tuesday, September 12, 2017

For the next few days and perhaps into next week, all of us are concerned about Hurricane Irma and where she’s going and the damage she may bring. What an uninvited guest — worse than your nosy aunt.
Although we worry and pray for everyone’s safety and prepare for the worst, it’s still pigskin season. I’m not referring to hog killing time in Southwest Georgia but football. Are you ready? Indeed, we are ready to watch our favorite college football team — the UGA bulldogs — kick a winning season. However, all our friends are not Dawg fans (they don’t know what they’re missing; do they?) but we’ll show them on the gridiron this fall.
We love life in Americus, but sure miss living in Athens, initially as a student eons ago and then permanent residents, especially on football Saturday afternoons. The entire city, awash in red and black, vibrates with excitement.
The season opener last Saturday against Appalachian State was not a nail biter but still it was the first day of the football season and everyone was hyped. And many from the Americus Bulldog nation were at Sanford Stadium, cheering the Dawgs up close and personal.
And they continue to follow the Bulldogs this week, traveling to the campus of Notre Dame for today’s game. We’ll tell you all about that next week.
Especially enthusiastic about the Bulldogs’ season opener were John and Beth Carroll and daughter, Caroline Carroll, a UGA Georgette, the university’s elite dance team that performs at sports events. Caroline is multi-talented as well as academically gifted. The Georgettes practice five days weekly, including game day and it shows — they are perfection. Beth said the dance team was incredible at the game, and open practice the night beforehand as were the Red Coat Band, flag line, majorettes and cheerleaders. On game day, the Georgettes participated in the “Dawg Walk,” when the football team walks onto the field and performs during the game and halftime with the other cheer groups and band. Beth said she and John are proud to be a part of this exciting time in Caroline’s life.
Other UGA fans from Americus at Sanford Stadium to cheer the Dawgs were Beau Barrett, Dr. Lou and Candy Riccardi and daughter, Dr. Alex Riccardi, Steve Short and his cousin, Gaye and John Hayes and daughters Emma Kate and Sydney Hayes. Sydney was visiting Chris Shattles, a UGA student, and member of Kappa Delta sorority.
Meanwhile, there are Auburn Tigers among us. They cheered their team to victory in the game against the Georgia Southern Eagles at Jordan Hare Stadium. Those from Americus were Jackson Hayes, a student at Georgia Southern, Blake Shattles, Rene and Angela Smith and their daughter Sara Westra, a Georgia Southern student, and son Chance Westra; Kyle Crew, also a Georgia Southern student, Mary Ann and Nathan Hammack and daughter, Anna Gail, 5, who was attending her first college football game. Angela said they tailgated with former Americus resident Kathy Ray and daughter, Caroline, who was home from the University of Arkansas, where she is a sophomore. They also visited with fellow Auburn fans Corey Flegel and Angie Kuhlman of Americus, who will be married at Sally Run today.
Meanwhile, Sylvia Roland didn’t have football on her mind. She was flying home from London, where she toured the city and English countryside with her mother and stepfather, Norman and Kitty Pumphrey, who reside in Cairo, Egypt, where her mother teaches accounting at the British University. They toured the historic Tower of London, where King Henry VIII had Sir Walter Raleigh, Anne Boleyn and other people beheaded. Other highlights included a panoramic bus tour and visit to St. Paul’s Cathedral, where Prince Charles and Princess Diana were married. They enjoyed a cruise along the Thames River and rode the London Eye, the large ferris wheel near the river’s bank. Before leaving they attended the musicals, “Wicked” and “The Lion King.” They traveled into the countryside by train to Bath, founded during Roman times when  hot springs existed. Through the years, both Romans and Europeans visited Bath to “take the waters” to cure their ailments. A beautiful vacation site and town has grown up around the springs. They toured the Jane Austen Centre, near where author Jane Austen resided during a portion of her life and walked extensively to view the lovely architecture, including some of the first crescent-shaped buildings. Their final stops were Stonehenge and Salisbury Cathedral, a beautiful cathedral built in the 1200s and the location of the Magna Carta that has its roots in Salisbury.
And Dr. Gatewood and Cindy Dudley vacationed at their beach house at St. Simon’s Island. While there Gatewood participated in art classes at Anderson Fine Art Gallery. Also, Joni Woolf was joined by her family that included her son and daughter-in-law, Wesley and Elizabeth North Woolf of Savannah and daughter Carey and Marshall Wooten of Schley County. During the week-end they visited with several friends from their days at Camp Mikell in Toccoa.

Leila Sisson Case lives in Americus.