Grantham incident should remind us it's just a game

When the Todd Grantham story broke earlier this week, I didn't have too much of a reaction.

For those football fans who have been hiding under a rock the last few days, Grantham is the high-paid University of Georgia defensive coordinator who was caught on television giving the choke sign to University of Florida kicker Chas Henry just seconds before the Gators' back-up place kicker booted the game-winning field goal in overtime to knock off the Bulldogs.

The story and the video clip have been burning up the Internet for days.

There has been a mixed reaction to the incident.

Most Georgia fans are supporting their coach.

Right now, most citizens of the Bulldog Nation hate the way their team has performed, but are telling the rest of the world to leave their much malinged defensive specialist alone.

Non-Bulldog fans are calling for drastic action to be taken against the former Dallas Cowboys' assistant coach who was supposed to bring his 3-4 defense from the NFL straight to Athens and help Mark Richt and company win an SEC title.

I fit somewhere in the middle.

Grantham needs to be told in no uncertain terms that something like this can never happen again, and I'm sure, despite all the spin that has been coming out of the football offices at Georgia, Richt sternly conveyed this when the two men met behind closed doors.

After all, there has been enough bad publicity with the Georgia football team. UGA doesn't need something else to further blacken its eye.

To see Grantham do something like this is sad, but it is not an isolated incident.

Somehow we let our passion for the game get out of control.

College football is a game played teenagers and 20-somethings, yet, grown men and women base their entire weekend on how their favorite college football team does.

A win and things are great, a loss, and some people have trouble getting out of bed on Sunday or even enjoying a post-game meal with friends on Saturday night.

All I have to do is look in the mirror.

I have been guilty of throwing down my remote control or reacting like I have been hit in the stomach when something goes wrong with my favorite team. I too have overreacted after a loss, even going as far as wanting the coach to be fired as if I have any say in the matter.

I still remember getting furious at Georgia Tech quarterback Reggie Ball a few years back when he threw the ball out-of-bounds on fourth down in Athens late in the fourth quarter, giving the Yellow Jackets another loss to rival Georgia.

Even when my alma mater Elon University, a team that flies well below the college football radar, drops a Southern Conference game, I have overreacted.

It's hard not to love college football, especially in the South, but often the big game has been known to divide families, end friendships and bring normally well-mannered people to blows.

Throw in a little bit of alcohol and things can really get out of hand.

As I get older I often try to tell myself it really is just a game.

As my parents, long-time season ticket holders at Georgia Tech like to say after a tough loss, the sun will still come up tomorrow.

Maybe someday, I will start to listen.

(Doug Gorman is the sports editor of the Clayton News Daily and Henry Da)