UGA – and me – headed for the Rose Bowl

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When it was an­nounced last week­end that the Uni­ver­sity of Ge­or­gia would be play­ing in the Rose Bowl, I thought it ironic be­cause I was se­lected to be in the Rose Bowl pa­rade eight months ago.

I have watched the Rose Bowl pa­rade since I was lit­tle. A New Year’s tra­di­tion for my mother and me, we were amazed year af­ter year at the artistry of each float and won­dered about the time it takes to put such beauty to­gether.

If you have never watched the Rose Bowl pa­rade, then you are un­fa­mil­iar with the fact that each float in the pa­rade is re­quired to be or­ganic. In other words, all the col­ors you see in the de­sign are made from nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents such as roses, rice, tree bark, cof­fee, etc. Only the me­chan­ics of the float can be man-made, but all decor comes from na­ture. Now imag­ine the time it must take to put that to­gether, cou­pled with the knowl­edge that the float can’t be dec­o­rated too far in ad­vance or the flow­ers and other ma­te­ri­als will die be­fore the pa­rade be­gins.

Never did I think I would ac­tu­ally par­tic­i­pate in the Rose Bowl pa­rade. At best I’d hoped to see it in person some­day but never re­ally knew how I was go­ing to make a trip like that hap­pen. Then, sev­eral years ago, I em­ceed a Ge­or­gia Trans­plant Foun­da­tion event and learned a fel­low trans­plant re­cip­i­ent would be rid­ing on the Do­nate Life Float. This float was ded­i­cated to trans­plant re­cip­i­ents and donors, where re­cip­i­ents would ride on the float and donors — whose fam­i­lies bravely gave their or­gans upon death — would have their por­traits de­picted in or­ganic pic­tograms.

Happy for and en­vi­ous of her at the same time, I won­dered if that would ever be a pos­si­bil­ity for me. Were all re­cip­i­ents al­lowed to ride the float, or had she achieved the honor in a way I would never qual­ify for?

Then, a cou­ple years later, an­other re­cip­i­ent I knew rode on the same float and I asked her how the se­lec­tion was made. She ex­plained the ap­pli­ca­tion process that was open to all re­cip­i­ents, that find­ing a spon­sor was one of the re­quire­ments and wished me luck. I de­cided to make the ef­fort as sort of a “bucket list” ven­ture, and thanks to Piedmont Health­care who stepped up as a spon­sor, I was se­lected for the 2018 float in the early months of 2017. That means I head out to Cal­i­for­nia af­ter Christ­mas and not only ride on the float but also help dec­o­rate it in the days lead­ing up to the pa­rade. What a way to ring in 2018!

My Uni­ver­sity of Ten­nessee Vol­un­teers had the worst sea­son in the his­tory of the school’s foot­ball pro­gram, and even though I’m still frus­trated by my own team, I am al­ways happy to see the SEC rise to the top of the rank­ings … even if I don’t like the uni­ver­sity rep­re­sented. And due to the fact that UGA is fight­ing for that cham­pi­onship spot — and it’s through the Rose Bowl that they’ll get there — it will be fun to see the At­lanta area well-rep­re­sented in Pasadena on New Year’s Day.

Melissa Carter is rec­og­nized as one of the first out ra­dio per­son­al­i­ties in At­lanta and has been heard over the years on B98.5 and Q100 and can cur­rently be heard daily on the Pro­gres­sive Voices pod­cast “She Per­sisted.” Fol­low her on Twit­ter @Melis­saCarter.

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