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Topic: GATORAMA

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Cincydawg

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GATORAMA
« on: August 03, 2019, 01:48:36 PM »
Gator was one of the earliest posters around here, he had a few million posts when I showed up.  He was a Michigan and Florida fan, pretty much a double anathema for me as my kids attended THE Ohio State.  Once we got through the usual bickering and smack talk and I adjusted to the place somewhat as being "unusual", we settled down to an on line friendship.  We met in Atlanta sometime in 2004 or so, and went to some sports bar where he was involved in a Trivia contest against several teams with 7-8-9 players.  I jumped in with him, as he had an encyclopedic knowledge of sports and geography, and I could cover history and science somewhat.  We ended up winning it, I think we got some $20 gift cert for the next night, and neither of us would be around for it.

We met up again circa 2009 or so in Austin, TX for a Texas-Nebraska game.  Utee had a setup with two TVs going and the WLOCP was that day also.  Some friends of Utees wanted us to watch his bulldog, and ancient gal named Pearl, so we decided to sit at the tailgate and watch the game together, with this old bulldog.  Gator thought it very unfair and biased of course, and it turned out to be a good premonition as the Dawgs won that day, which was unusual back then.  He was extremely good natured and seemed to be in good health and spirits.

It seemed sudden to us and unexpected when his passing was announced here in 2012 or so, I think it was.  I think someone represented us at the service, I know I couldn't get away with my kids.

We shared the same first name and I always tried to measure up to his presence on line, rarely with success.

Drew4UTk

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Re: GATORAMA
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2019, 02:29:08 PM »
i don't think i knew anyone, virtually or in real life that has visited more college football stadiums than the 'travelingwolvergator'.   i always loved to hear what he had to say when he went to a new one.  he was part of the bunch that made this group special for a lot of us, and set it apart from other places.  

Cincydawg

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Re: GATORAMA
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2019, 02:31:54 PM »
I should have mentioned that, I believed he had visited 78 different college venues.  One of his favorites was at West Point.  He told me it was beautiful and moving.

He also said he rarely paid for a ticket, he usually knew someone who would host, or he'd find a cheap ticket somewhere at the stadium.

That was his main hobby in the Fall until his health started to fade.  Folks here would compete in offering him a ticket and a room if he'd visit their team's stadium.

Drew4UTk

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Re: GATORAMA
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2019, 11:02:43 AM »
i think he had something to do with banking as a profession?  he was no idiot, to be sure.  though conversations in those days on that format forbid discussion of politics, religion, race, or any of the typical pitfalls, the insight his professional vantage would offer would peek through.  I don't know if it was his maturity or age, or simply that he was a gentleman, but he could defuse circumstances or divert conversations to more affable grounds better than most. 

where statistics were concerned he would defer to the master of that, Mr. FTBobs, but... where sentiment concerning a team, a year, an era, he was the go-to.  The man's travels and his ease of interactions with those around him made him something of a recognized historian.

but all of that is just what it is... what the man also did, akin to @CharleyHorse46 and @nuwildcat , is he was legitimate- using the web as but an extension of his living room or a stadium.  I had the sense he would be the same in person as on the boards, and THAT, set the tone in the beginning of this community- the very beginning.  We have gatorama to blame for the community @847badgerfan , @ELA , @CWSooner , @utee94 , @rolltidefan , @Mr Tulip , @FearlessF , @so many more have made the best 'virtual' communities i've ever encountered.  I came into this group guns a blazin' with the fan-talk; smack-down; trashing opponents, ect... he set me straight with a quickness.  I faded back and observed for a while and then came back into talks about a subject i actually knew something about- and he was the first one to respond in a welcoming 'short memory' way.... i never forgot that.  

i never met him in person.  many here did.  he reached out in times of need to at least two i know of, and he didn't brag about that ever- i learned it from those he reached out to.... it cemented the fact he viewed us as 'real' friends.  

sorry for the sermon... like @CharleyHorse46 and @nuwildcat , Gatorama deserved something better than what we've done.  thank @Cincydawg for doing this.   Mr.Hoople also needs mention.  Mr.Hoople was of the same cloth as gatorama and passed on the very same day.  I wish i was equipped to write about him, too.    

ELA

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Re: GATORAMA
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2019, 11:35:42 AM »
I feel bad that we never had a chance to meet.  We were supposed to at the MSU-Hawaii game in East Lansing in 2005, but technology being what it was, plans had to be cemented before leaving for the tailgate, and his plans were fluid.  My cell only sporadically got service at tailgates, and his the same, if he even had one then.

Afterwards he wrote me a predictably unnecessary apology, whereas me, being 21, just figured life was a series of tentative plans, and no offense was taken.  I do regret that, while I saved the email, it was sent to my college email address, and I never thought to forward it to Gmail before it got shut down 

rolltidefan

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Re: GATORAMA
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2019, 11:57:46 AM »
his weekly synopsis was quite entertaining, regardless of whatever location he happened to be enjoying his college football fix that weekend. as @Drew4UTk mentioned, he might not have had the stats info as much as the bobs, but his knowledge of the passion and pageantry is second to none, and not just on this board but the world over.

hoople, gatorama, little big matt, nu, hookie... we've lost too many good ones.

847badgerfan

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Re: GATORAMA
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2019, 12:23:20 PM »
Seems like we always lose the good ones, but I must say, that's pretty much all we have here is good ones.

Gator (John Hall) was a good man. He got a little bitter towards the end, but I understood that. He was still great to be around, and a wealth of knowledge.

He was a long time Equifax employee, rising to the VP level. He was on the counseling side, if I remember right.
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CWSooner

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Re: GATORAMA
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2019, 12:45:52 PM »
I had the pleasure of taking him to the OU @ Tulsa game in 2007.  We parked at the Tulsa State Fairground--a couple of miles away--and waited in line for the shuttle to the game.  And waited, and waited, and waited.  And he didn't offer one word of complaint.

He was a real gentleman and told some great stories of his travels, some even not concerning college football.  I took him to a couple of minor diversions, like the Will Rogers Museum in Claremore, for which he expressed more appreciation than I deserved.

My life is richer for having known him.

We've sure lost some good ones.  Mr. Hoople and Little Big Matt are probably the two others with whom I had the most exchanges.

Good guys . . . .
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utee94

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Re: GATORAMA
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2019, 02:02:52 PM »
So glad I got to meet him, at least that once.  Same goes for @847badgerfan and @Cincydawg and @GopherRock and @DevilFroggy .  Hopefully I'll get the chance to meet some more of you in time.

GopherRock

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Re: GATORAMA
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2019, 10:45:21 PM »
I had the pleasure of meeting Gatorama on several occasions, including what I think was his final trip to an out-of-town college football game. He came to Minneapolis in 2009 for the very first game at the New Brickhouse. I was one of those who had a standing invitation to him if he ever felt like making another trip. 

As noted, I don't know of anyone else who has even approached the number of college football venues that he has. And he's one of the inspirations to why I keep going to Gopher road games, despite my dismal record at them.

I thought about him out of the blue a few years ago. I was in Ann Arbor with my now-wife, at the Minnesota @ Michigan football game. Severe weather had forced a delay in the proceedings, such that a 330PM game didn't start until 7 or 8 PM. The backside of the storm system had a cold drizzle coming down on the assembled crowd at the Big House. While sitting there in the wretched conditions, watching Michigan beat the tar out of PJ's first Gopher club, the thought crossed my mind that 'ol Gator would be happy as a clam watching this ball game. The man loved his Michigan Wolverines, even when they didn't always love him back. 

UT-Erin03

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Re: GATORAMA
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2019, 11:47:26 AM »
Thank you for starting this Memorial thread to Gatorama a.k.a. the Traveling WolverGator. 

He is truly a CFN Legend and a real-life true fan of College Football in all of it's capacities.   When I started posting on the board, he was attending a different game/city practically every weekend and faithfully shared his subsequent Travelogues recapping his experience, which became some of the most favorite threads to read each week for me. 

His wonder & excitement about truly experiencing the pageantry & unique atmosphere created by each individual gameday location sincerely inspired me to get out there and see some of these places for myself, even though I will likely never come close to Gator with the number of stadiums I will eventually step foot in.    Before his influence, and the influence of THIS community in general, I would not have considered going out of my way to visit various college towns/stadiums to see a game that did not have my own team on the field.     

Even to this day, I get some strange reactions from friends/family for why I would take a weekend trip to see a random game for teams that aren't my own (just went to ASU/Utah last November), and try to explain the reason for the curiosity, desire & need to have these experiences that can be so enriching & memorable.    I have Gator to thank for my continued travel-goals of seeing some more stadiums & teams in the future, regardless of whether it makes sense to others or not.  These trips have been priceless memories & I have never regretted one single weekend jaunt spent for a college FB game. 

Aside from his love of the sport & travel, Gator was extremely personable, wise, & had a big heart.   He gave warm hugs & the occasional belly-laugh, but was very serious & knowledgeable on many topics when needed.    When we had chances to speak in person, I enjoyed his tales of being in Russia, a country that I don't have a strong desire to visit myself but found his stories about bootleg Vodka & other Russian encounters so intriguing.    


Up until physical constraints set in, the man kept himself active both mentally & physically with his adventures.  I truly hope I maintain the same level of excitement for knowledge, travel, & personal connections that Gator showed in his lifetime, and I'll always treasure the times we shared together both in this online community & at the various places around the country that we had the chance to meet up for in person.   I've got a few pics I can share also in tribute.  

RIP, Gatorama.    

 


847badgerfan

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Re: GATORAMA
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2019, 03:35:29 PM »
That Nashville trip was just too damn fun. Nobody should be allowed to have that much.
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CWSooner

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Re: GATORAMA
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2019, 04:27:04 PM »
Thanks, Erin, for your mention of John's stories about his Russian adventures.

Funny stories that made me never want to go there!
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MrNubbz

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Re: GATORAMA
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2019, 12:09:00 PM »
Good Thread - thanx CD,Gator was one of the very 1st posters I had exchanges with when entering the CFN Board in '03/'04.Always had a good slant on a variety of subjects and enjoyed his insights.Pretty much echoes the rest of the Memorial Board
"The problem with the rat race is even if you win - you're still just a rat" - Lily Tomlin

 

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