Or, maybe even a tear or two in your eye.
To be honest, there are a lot of really crappy things that go on in the game of college football. From the BcS to agent/pimps to the BcS to shady coaches to the BcS to arrests/suspensions/NCAA violations to the BcS, there’s enough negativity going on to cause even the most fervent fan to question why the hell they follow this great game so religiously. Conversely, there’s also a lot of good that comes out of the game, but doesn’t get nearly the attention it probably deserves.
No, not probably; it doesn’t. So, at least for one post, we’ll rectify the inequity.
For all of the criticism Mark Richt, the head coach, has received in recent years, you’d have to look long and hard to find anyone to say a bad word about Mark Richt, the man. Just a couple of weeks ago, the Georgia coach did something that only goes to further solidify the latter.
On Jan. 15, 17-year-old Valdosta High School football player James Eunice drowned while duck hunting near his Georgia home, and his body wasn’t recovered for 17 days.
Prior to his death, Eunice had spoken to Richt about walking on with the Bulldogs after graduating this year. Unfortunately, Eunice was never able to achieve his dream while he was alive. In death, however, he reached what he’d hoped would be his football destiny.
During Eunice’s funeral last Saturday, Jay Rome and Malcolm Mitchell, who played football with Eunice at Valdosta High and have signed letters of intent to play for Georgia, came to the podium with a box. A letter that Richt had written to the Eunice family was read to the mourners in attendance.
At the end of the letter, Richt wrote, “Oh yeah, James made the team.”
Then Rome and Mitchell took an official Georgia jersey out of the box. On the jersey were Eunice’s last name and the No. 23 he had worn at Valdosta.
James Eunice had become a member of the Georgia football team.
Richt’s gesture obviously touched the two recruits who had signed Letters of Intent before their friend’s and teammate’s funeral.
“I’m going to play for an incredible man,” Rome told the Valdosta Daily Times. “Coach Richt is just incredible. He’s the best. Just to know that he had that in his heart, just to do that for James and his family, means a lot to me, and I know it means a lot to the family.”
“It made me proud to be a Bulldog,” Mitchell added.
During what was no doubt a very emotional and heartwrenching time for dozens of people, it was an incredibly classy, honorable, noble gesture on Richt’s part, one that he probably would’ve preferred to remain out of the public light.
The thing is, Richt would never attach labels such as “classy” or “honorable” or “noble” to what he did for that family. He’d just say it was the right thing to do.
Indeed, it was. As is recognizing and applauding Richt for the gesture.