As I walked across the Sanford Bridge Saturday in Athens, I stopped to behold one of the most beautiful sights in this land. Spread out before me was Sanford Stadium in all of its glory.
It told an age old story of joy and pain. It screamed of victory and whispered of defeat. It seemed to hold a secret that it wasn't ready to tell.
I made my way to the stadium and took my place at the hedges. My heart beat with anticipation and my mind raced with scenarios of what was to come.
Who would be the Georgia Bulldogs QB? Who would step up at receiver? What about the 3-4 defensive scheme? Who is Todd Grantham?
I watched as Zach Mettenberger zipped the ball between defenders and I watched Aaron Murray throw an interception. I watched Nick Williams hold Washaun Ealey down before Ealey retaliated with a punch.
I watched Logan Gray run for a gain and I watched Kris Durham catch a pass in the end zone.
I waited patiently for the answers to my questions.
I smiled at the little ones donning their red and black attire. I knew that one day the love they held for the dawgs would run as deep as mine.
I got pictures and autographs from the likes of Michael Moore, and it was a day that I will not soon forget.
Somewhere inside of me there was a gaping hole left by the "what ifs?" of last season. I knew that sooner or later it would be filled with this year's answers.
On this day, my questions didn't exactly get answered, but the joy of Georgia football began to close that hole.
Even though last year was sub-par at best, my pride still burned inside of me. I realized that the glory doesn't come from victory. The joy comes from the embedded love of this team and this game.
I left with a feeling of excitement. Whether it be Gray, Murray, or Mettenberger behind center, I know that September will hold as much glory as the days gone by.
There will be more history-making players like Verron Haynes and his hobnail boot. There will be more game-winning saves like Baccari Rambo and his hit heard round the world.
It wasn't just me. I saw 30,000-plus on that day and all of them were proud to be dawgs. As I walked away from the beloved stadium, I heard the gentle whisper of a secret that was now ready to be told. The whisper that the glory has returned.
As I took one last look over my shoulder, I saw something that I'm sure was just my imagination. I was almost sure I saw a trickle of blood fall from the head of Grantham. I knew then, the whisper was right.