Archive for May, 2016

Georgia Plays Auburn in Columbus and Almost Nobody Comes

May 15, 2016

About 40 spectators turned out for the historic game, historic because it’s the first time Georgia has played Auburn in Columbus since 1958. The Georgia-Auburn football classic was arguably the biggest sports and social event of the year in Columbus. (I thought it left Columbus because it outgrew Memorial Stadium, but a comment listed below says otherwise.*)

Georgia--Auburn Football Game,, Piedmont Park, Atlanta, 1895. The claissic switched to Columbus, GA in 1920, leaving in 1958 and now alternates between Aubiurn, AL and Athens, GA. They first started playing in 1892 in Atlanta.

Georgia–Auburn Football Game,, Piedmont Park, Atlanta, 1895. The claissic switched to Columbus, GA in 1920, leaving in 1958 and now alternates between Aubiurn, AL and Athens, GA. They first started playing in 1892 in Atlanta.

There was a major difference in the 1958 and 2016 game,  college football and college Ultimate Frisbee. Columbus media ignored the USA Ultimate league’s Southeast Regional Tournament that was held April 30th — May  1s  at the Woodruff Farm Soccer complex in Columbus.  There were sixteen teams from major Southeast universities, including Georgia Tech. 
Georgia beat Auburn in the final game and, along with 2nd Place Florida State and 3rd Place Auburn,  goes to the National Championship Tournament in Raleigh, North Carolina May 27th through 30th. ESPN3 does stream the championship games. 
The only reason I knew about the Columbus tournament is that Georgia’s star player Parker Bray is the grandson of my friend Julie Bray. We were among the very few who saw him make some spectacular plays in the Alabama and LSU games. (I didn’t make the Auburn game.) 
Perhaps media ignored the event because Ultimate Frisbee is a stepchild (club) college sport. The teams pay most of their expenses.  I enjoyed the games because I’m into  lifelong learning.  Like most folks, I knew almost nothing about Ultimate Frisbee. Now I know that a team scores when a player catches a disc in the opposing team’s end zone. It’s billed as non-contact sport, but Parker ended up in a hospital for more than a week after one game. When two fast and strong young men are racing to catch a disc, collisions will happen. A  player can’t throw a disc while moving, but must pass it within 10 seconds. There are no referees in college Frisbee. The honor system is used. A game is over in an hour and a half, or when one team scores 15 points first. It’s fast and fun to watch. The players are amazingly accurate when they throw those floating discs, and it’s not unusual for them to make diving catches.
It appeared that Georgia and Auburn had the largest groups of spectators. (I saw no spectators at a Georgia Tech game.) Auburn even had a ‘band!” Well, actually, one trombonist who played the National Anthem before their games. For the championship game, the Georgia team also sang “Amazing Grace.” Really.   The teams are very spirited and do their own cheers after scoring a point. One of the Jojah – that’s the logo name of the Georgia team- cheers is “Jojah, Jojah” followed by barking like a bulldog four times. Those kids have fun and it’s fun to watch them.    
There is also a women’s division. Maybe we can get their Southeast Regional Tournament next year. 
*When I ran a post on the Georgia-Auburn football classic in 2012, I recevied this comment on the reason the game was moved in 1958. I had always heard it was because the crowds outgrew Memorial Stadium, but I got this comment that says otherwise.
Jesse C. Gordon III Says:
Nice commentary, but the reason the series was mover to home and away was Auburn wanted another home game.Columbus(my Grandfather,Auburn graduate, was involved in the politics of the situation at the time) offered to expand Columbus Memorial up to 70,000 capacity. Auburn said no.And that is the long and the short of why the series went to home and away. In 1959 Neither Auburn nor Georgia seated more than the 35,000 Memorial Stadium held.Somewhere in city hall one may find the plans submitted showing an expanded Columbus Memorial with a complete second tier, still horseshoe shaped.Would have been the 2nd. largest stadium in the South behind old Tulane Stadium.

*

 

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