I am sitting at my computer, and there is a print on the wall above that has the title, “The Legends of Erk.” The subtitle is “Just One More Time.” DH bought it for me when I dragged him to ONE Georgia Southern University football game. I was at Georgia Southern College in the 80s when Erk Russell brought football back to GSC after a 40 year absence. I was at the first football game at Statesboro High School. DH called me at my office yesterday to tell me he heard Erk had died. It doesn’t take much to send my memory to Georgia Southern– I spent five years there getting two degrees. My print has The Bald Eagle himself in the center, surrounded by campus scenes that include several national championship trophies, Sweetheart Circle, the old bus the team traveled in, and Erk dipping water from “Beautiful Eagle Creek” to sprinkle on opponents’ fields. I walked by the creek and the first practice fields often. There is also Paulson Stadium, where I have been in the pressbox and on the sidelines with a camera. I was walking to my campus mailbox one Saturday morning when a car stopped, and the driver waved me across the street. It was Erk, with a big ol’ cigar in his mouth. My last sight of Erk was at that game I mentioned earlier, where he was pacing the endzone.
I am happy to be employed at Jacksonville State University, despite the fact that I mentioned to the president that GSU had beaten JSU, umm 51-14 on the way to the 1-AA national championship a few months before my interview. I still have a GSU tag on the front of my car. Go Eagles!! I really embrace GSU during football season to avoid getting into the whole Auburn-Alabama thing.