ATHENS, Ga. -- Like thousands of college students his age, Georgia offensive lineman Watts Dantzler vacationed at Florida beaches during spring break.
Unlike all but a brave few, he made his way back to Athens on a Greyhound bus -- a nearly 16-hour journey that included sights the rising sophomore will struggle to unsee. So noteworthy was the trip that an amusing blog entry he posted chronicling the long ride went semi-viral, generating approximately 100,000 page views between Saturday, when he posted it, and Tuesday.
“I’ve gotten tons of calls and stuff about it,” said Dantzler, who lined up as the starting right tackle in Georgia’s first two spring practices. “The editor of the Red and Black [Georgia’s student newspaper] called me and said he wants me to start my own blog in the Red and Black. Tons of people have told me they want me to blog during the season, but I’m not going to do that. I’m just trying to focus on football.”
Dantzler took the blame for poor communication between himself and several fellow offensive linemen, which left him without a ride home last Wednesday from Destin, Fla. Because he wanted to be back in Athens by Thursday to prepare for spring practice, he had few options other than to go Greyhound.
Not only did he ride the bus, he spent most of the first two hours of the trip -- from Panama City to Tallahassee -- sitting on the floor since there were no seats available. That would be inconvenient for anyone, much less someone who is 6-foot-7 and 315 pounds.
“I laid on my side because my shoulders were too big to lay on my back,” he wrote.
The night’s climax came when he arrived in Atlanta and waited two hours for a friend to arrive and drive him back to Athens. Dantzler wrote about witnessing a fight in the bus station and how someone outside the station offered to sell him a bag full of portable video game gadgets.
Dantzler can laugh now in saying that he feared for his life, but he admits there were some scary moments as he waited.
“I think like three or four times,” he said with a chuckle when asked whether he believed his life was in jeopardy. “I was pretty scared. When we got to the Greyhound stop in Atlanta, I had my suitcase in front of me, my hands on both wallets; sat down and didn’t say anything. It was a pretty good experience.”
Dantzler posted colorful tweets all day last Thursday as he made his way home, and he eventually decided to write an essay about it for his English class. The story amused his friends so much that they convinced him to post it online.
“It’s not really a big deal,” Dantzler said of the response. “Some people have emailed me about it, but I don’t plan on quitting football and going into that as a profession by any means.”
Maybe it won’t lead to a writing career, but the trip created a memory that the 20-year-old said he will never forget.
“No doubt,” Dantzler said. “It was a lot of fun.”