UGA, Tech fans demonstrate tolerance

Fans of the University of Georgia and fans of Georgia Tech were out Saturday proving that people of sharply differing viewpoints can live in harmony.

At Buffalo Wild Wings in Centerville, Ted Hecker, of Warner Robins, was the sole Georgia Tech fan at a table of UGA fans, including his wife, Teresa. Also sitting next to him was his close friend of 40 years, Chris Grube. The two have watched the annual game many times together without getting too annoyed at each other.

“It’s all good because we win most of the time anyway,” Grube said shortly after the game started.

Hecker fired back “Yeah, but who’s going to the ACC championship game and who is staying home?”

This year, Hecker got to rub it in as the Jackets pulled out a 30-24 win in overtime. Both teams came in with 9-2 records but Georgia was a 13-point favorite.

Hecker said he had been a UGA fan but switched to Georgia Tech after his son went to school there. His wife, however, is an ardent Bulldogs fan.

“It sucks,” she said, when asked what she thinks of her husband rooting for the Yellow Jackets.

However, she goes to Tech games with him and pulls for the Yellow Jackets as long as they aren’t playing Georgia, and he does likewise when they go to UGA games. Hecker works at Robins Air Force Base, and he said he is the only Tech fan in his office. There are a lot of Florida State fans in the office, he said, and Tech will play Florida State for the ACC championship. Even before Tech beat Georgia, Hecker said he is optimistic the Yellow Jackets can knock off Florida State.

“A lot of people don’t take us seriously,” he said. “But they will this year.”

Going by the colors worn at Buffalo Wild Wings in Centerville and Wild Wing Cafe in Macon, UGA is clearly the king in Middle Georgia. Both restaurants were filled with people in red. A few, on closer inspection, were actually Ohio State fans but Georgia Tech fans were scarce.

At Wild Wing Cafe, UGA supporter Betsey Thornton, of Macon, sat at a table on the patio watching the game with her friend Emily Stanfield, of Warner Robins, who is a Yellow Jackets fan.

Stanfield said she supports Tech because she has family ties to the school, including her aunt, who was a cheerleader when the Yellow Jackets were last national champions in 1990. Thornton said she has always been a UGA fan, but even more so after her sister went there.

They said they enjoy watching the games together, even if the other is pulling for the wrong side.

“We don’t argue much, but there is some banter going back and forth,” Thornton said.

Stanfield said if she had to choose between the two, she would rather see Tech beat Florida State, but she said seeing them beat UGA was also important.

“I want some bragging rights,” she said.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.