Georgia Tech guard Shamire Devine wakes up every morning to the same ritual – he blasts Kansas’ “Carry On My Wayward Son” on his headphones. It is a routine he began when he was a freshman to energize him to take on the day.
“My freshman year was tough,” he said.
The ritual (he also listens to “Kryptonite” by 3 Doors Down) has helped sustain him this season, as the Jackets are bound for their worst season since 1994. So has the bond linking Devine and his teammates.
“I just see the team as a family, and everything I’m doing is for them,” he said. “That’s the only way I can carry on right now during the season. I see Tech as a family and I would do anything for my family.”
Together, Devine said, the Jackets have sweat together, bled together and been yelled at together. They’ve experienced too much with each other to fragment even in the face of a string of agonizing and heartbreaking defeats.
To Devine, defeat has brought the team together in a way that winning could not. In the loss last Thursday to Virginia Tech, Devine had to watch from the sideline, playing only on special teams.
As this season has progressed, Devine said, “everyone came together and was like, You know what? We’re all we’ve got. No one’s going to be there for us. They’re going to be against us. So we stand for each other. We’re still losing, but at least we have a family bond.”
Just as Tech’s seasons of 7-7 and 7-6 in 2012 and 2013, respectively, served as fuel for Tech’s Orange Bowl championship season in 2014, Devine sees the Jackets’ dismal 2015 helping create a connection that will pay dividends next season. And in the final two games of the year.
“If we’re going to go out, we’re going to go out swinging, fighting, scratching and swinging baseball bats,” Devine said.
More from Devine
Devine started the first eight games and missed the Virginia game with a concussion. Devine said that offensive line coach Mike Sewak kept him out of the game because of a fear he couldn’t make a backside scoop block. Sewak also said that missed practice time was a factor. Errin Joe, moved over from right tackle, has played right guard for the past two games.
Devine said Monday that his goal was to eliminate or at least soothe Sewak’s fear about his blocking. Sewak said that he will be in the rotation.
Georgia Tech hosted delegates from Ireland last week who were in town to meet with school and city of Atlanta officials and business leaders about the Jackets’ trip next fall to play Boston College. Game promoters, as well as those involved with the game in Atlanta, are hopeful that the event will have broader impact than one game being played overseas. There are plans (or at least hopes) for a trade mission to Ireland led by Mayor Kasim Reed and Gov. Nathan Deal to go with the traveling party. Tech and Boston College officials are working on an academic exchange with universities in Dublin.
And, of course, the tourism industry is anticipating a large influx of Tech and Boston College fans. Game promoters are counting on 20,000 fans to come to Dublin for the game, along with 5,000 from elsewhere in Europe.
It wouldn’t be out of line with past games held in Dublin. For the Penn State-Central Florida game in 2014, there were 20,000 fans that came for the game from the U.S. for the Notre Dame-Navy game in 2012, there were 35,000 fans that came from the U.S. According to Padraic O’Kane, the CEO of Corporate.ie, the management company for the game, it was the largest movement of Americans outside of the country for a sporting event, including the Olympics.
Interestingly, for ticket packages sold through the game’s official travel partner (Anthony Travel), Tech fans are out-buying Boston College fans 3 to 1. I was told, though, that a lot of Boston College fans have homes in Ireland and so they don’t need to buy packages. Kind of puts my parents’ Hilton Head timeshare to shame.
Mr. O’Kane happened to mention that tickets will be hard to come by and that fans need to buy them, as well as reserve hotel rooms, post haste. He said that, when tickets went on sale for the 2012 game, they were sold out in four hours. He said he expected the game at 48,000-seat Aviva Park to sell out and that there are just 12,000 hotel bedrooms in the Dublin city center. The Labor Day weekend that the game will be played on is actually also the same weekend as the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship final, an event likened to me as the nation’s Super Bowl.
Plus, I think DragonCon Dublin is also taking place that weekend.
At any rate, Mr. O’Kane suggests that fans interested in attending and purchasing tickets separate from air/hotel/game packages visit collegefootballireland.com to sign up for a newsletter that will offer notice of a presale of tickets.
As of Tuesday night, the cheapest flight from Atlanta to Dublin leaving Aug. 31 (Wednesday) and returning Sept. 4 is $1,822.
Yipes. That makes El Paso look like a bargain.
Actually, though, you can fly Aer Lingus through Chicago for $1,092. Or, better yet, you can fly Turkish Airlines for $873. It’s a mere 31-hour trip including a 14-hour layover in Istanbul. I hear the airport’s got a great wireless connection.
Tech women’s basketball player Aaliyah Whiteside was named ACC player of the week for the first time in her career. Whiteside scored a career-high 22 points in the season-opening win over Loyola-Chicago on Friday and followed it with 21 points against St. Francis Brooklyn. Whiteside is 21 points away from becoming the 29th Tech player to score 1,000 points. Tech plays Southeastern Louisiana Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at McCamish Pavilion.