When it comes to college football, fans’ ties to their favorite teams more likely than not are based on how they were raised.
Probably a good majority of Georgia fans have had a connection to the Bulldogs their entire lives. Maybe their parents went to Georgia, maybe they have lived in the state, or maybe they spent a small portion of their lives in Athens.
Whatever the situation may be, being a Georgia fan can be ingrained into Bulldogs fans’ genetic codes, passed down from generation to generation.
That isn’t the case for one Mick McManus. For him, being a fan of Georgia football wasn’t genetic; he had to catch the bug.
And it took him more than 30 years to do so.
McManus moved from the New England area to Atlanta in 1982. He lived in Georgia for 30 years before packing up and moving to Lake Suzy, Fla. But the thing is, for the 30 years McManus lived in Georgia, the Georgia football team never fully got his attention.
“I would go out and watch the game with friends, but when I lived in Georgia, that was about it,” McManus said. “Then, when I moved to Florida, I kept my eye on them, and it was when Kirby Smart came along that I knew it was going to be different.”
It eventually took a spectacular showing for Georgia football to finally win over McManus.
“My first trip was 93K Day, and it completely captivated me,” McManus said. “That was the first time that it really took off for me.”
But McManus is no bandwagon fan. Once he decided Georgia was his team, he didn’t look back. Let’s just say that bandwagon fans don’t usually travel more than 3,000 miles in three months to support a team.
That’s right, McManus travels with the team … a lot. Since he doesn’t fly, he packs up his car and drives wherever the team plays, and he actually does so alone.
But when asked if that is lonely, McManus was quick to respond.
“I don’t mind traveling, and I don’t mind driving,” McManus said. “People think I’m crazy going off on my own, just one person, but I tell them that when you love sports, I’m never alone. I’m always around people, and I get to find other places that I could eventually go and see.”
But just how deep does McManus’ love for Georgia football run if it isn’t genetic? Well, pretty deep considering he recently put Georgia before a team that he grew up supporting.
McManus’ “genetic code team” is the New England Patriots, and he said that the Patriots used to always come first.
“I have never missed watching a New England Patriots game,” McManus said of his favorite pro team. “But the weekend that Georgia played Mississippi State, I listened to the game on the radio. My friends can’t believe it, that I would even think about the Dawgs over a team that I have followed since I was 12 years old. But I’m hooked on this Georgia team.”
McManus was hooked. Not born into it or made to follow the team. Georgia hooked him.
Now approaching his 70th birthday, McManus is in the business of trying to hook and captivate other people. He’s selling Georgia football to anyone who will listen.
“I wish more people would come out because I can see what’s happening. I think it is going to happen here, and I just want everybody on board,” McManus said. “The future is unbelievably bright. I want people to be positive right now because I think that is where the team is going.”