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If you’re a college football fan, that’s one of those trips you dream your whole life about taking. And most people don’t get to go and play there. That’s a huge trip for us.

streak like that. I was a few years out of college and could afford to travel a little bit and just started going. After four or five years, I realized it had been a while and I just kept it up.” The last Bulldogs game Pittman missed was the 2000 O’ahu Bowl, the final game of Jim Donnan’s five-year coaching tenure (Georgia defeated Virginia 37-14). His streak began on Sept. 1, 2001, when the Richt-coached Bulldogs bested Arkansas State 45-17.

Long Way to Go Of course, Pittman – the chief operating officer of Athens-based Williams & Associates – has a long way to go to catch up to at least two considerably longer streaks. Griffin resident Dwayne Gilbert saw his 500th consecutive game on Nov. 14, 2015 at Auburn and just last season ended his run. And the late Herschel Scott of Monroe – who was good friends with Gilbert -- attended 471 straight games, a 41-year run. The 90-year-old Gilbert says that after attending the Bulldogs’ game at Ole Miss last fall, he decided to bring his 45-year streak to an end. “Going to Mississippi last year was hard on me,” says Gilbert. “I went to see my doctor the next week and he told me (the streak) was getting the best of me so it would be wise for me to pick and choose games. Two weeks later was the game at South Carolina and I didn’t go, bringing my steak to an end at 208 games.” Upon seeing his first Georgia game in 1948 (the Bulldogs defeated Georgia Tech 41-13 to win the SEC title), Gilbert says he “was hooked forever.” He’s been recognized by the NCAA and ESPN for his devotion and after years of parking his RV under the bridge near the stadium, he’s now got a spot at Bulldog Park and plans to attend every home game in 2017, with a solitary road trip to Vanderbilt on Oct. 7.

“Hopefully that won’t be too strenuous,” he quips. Pittman expresses his admiration for the longer streaks and what those diehard fans went through – which in some cases meant leaving hospital beds or coming to games in less-than-hale health – to keep their respective stretches alive. “It’s just amazing. It’s been 16 years since I missed one, but it takes a lot of work,” he says. “It’s hard to say if I’d leave the hospital for a game – I guess it depends on what you’re in the hospital for. I’d like to say I would. I’ve been to so many games now that I don’t know how I would react if I knew a game was going on and I wasn’t there. That’s the mentality about it. I don’t remember not being there.” There’s only been one occasion when it appeared as if Pittman would miss a game. In November 2012, he had reconstructive knee surgery on a Monday but five days later was still able to attend the Bulldogs’ 38-0 thrashing of Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium. “That’s the closest I’ve come to missing a game in the last 16 years,” he says. The Wilkes County native has visited every Southeastern Conference stadium, with the exception of Florida’s Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (because Georgia has only played there once in the last 66 years) and Texas A&M’s Kyle Field (the Bulldogs and Aggies have yet to meet in conference play).

On the Road With the exception of bowl games and occasional trips to Clemson, Pittman assents Georgia’s non-SEC road games over the past 16 years have been somewhat underwhelming. In the last 16 years, the Bulldogs have ventured to regularseason contests in Tempe, Arizona (2008), Stillwater, Oklahoma (2009) and Boulder, Colorado (2010), but otherwise have limited their travels to league schools. “A lot of SEC schools don’t play big-time out-of-

FALL 2017 I Athens magazine I 15

Athens Magazine Fall 2017  

Athens Magazine is a quarterly magazine published by The Athens Banner-Herald in Athens, Ga.