Lunch With Superfans

2 white people stand next to a bench at the Georgia State Stadium
Sherrill Moss and her husband Joe Lawson stand sideline next to one of the benches at the Georgia State Stadium. Photo courtesy of Sherrill Moss and Joe Lawson

My first guests are Sherill Moss and her husband, Joe Lawson, who made sure to dress head-to-toe in blue and white. Not only have they been football-season ticket holders since the team’s inaugural season in 2010, but basketball-season ticket holders as well. They have been in attendance for some of our program’s most historic events, from R.J. Hunter’s miraculous three-pointer against Baylor to the football team’s 2017 Cure Bowl triumph.

We sat down at Atlanta’s own, The Varsity. Whatever your opinion of their food may be (I happen to be indifferent to the overall quality), there are very few places in Atlanta better suited to sit down, enjoy a cost-effective meal and chat about sports.  

What follows are highlights from our conversation.

Espen: What is your opinion of the Varsity? Because we are eating at an Atlanta icon.

Sherrill: This is an Atlanta icon. You certainly don’t want to make it a regular meal. There’s nothing that tastes like a Varsity chili slaw dog, it is very unique. They also have the best onion rings. It’s just different.

Espen: This is this is actually one of the places that I will always take people if they’ve never been to Atlanta before. I just take them to The Varsity for the experience because, I mean, it is a classically American join, isn’t it? 

Joe: You know I can say this takes a while, but it can grow on you. 

Sherrill: I used to always get a Coca-Cola and this place served more fountain Coca-Colas than any other outlet in the world. Think about that.

Espen: So you guys hold season tickets for both football and basketball, correct?

Sherrill: Oh yeah, we wouldn’t miss it. We also go to the baseball games that we can over in Panthersville, we’ve been to soccer games and we just love going to as many sports as we can.

Espen: So, one question I do have —because one thing that the school is actively trying to do is market their teams and get more people to come to games— is why should Georgia State students care about their teams and show a passion towards them?

Sherrill: Well for one thing, the better Georgia state does and becomes more well known in athletics, the better it is for your degree. When you think about Alabama, do you think about the college, the school and how great it is? No, you think about the football team. And I must mention that we did beat them in basketball last year. So, it helps your degree. But the platform Georgia State is giving you to make lifelong friendships is something that you will ultimately be very proud of. So, I really get upset when I don’t see a lot of students at the games because it’s so important that we support the teams. Those guys and girls are working hard for you.

Joe: Whether you’re a student or an alumnus, you don’t know what you’re missing if you don’t go. Once you go to basketball, football or any of the other sports at Georgia State, even beach volleyball, you will understand what you are missing out on.

Espen: I caught my first beach volleyball games last year. I will be in attendance for every single game this year, whether or not I am covering the events or just there as a fan. They are so much fun. 

Espen: So, players such as D’Marcus Simonds, have described you as superfans. How does that make you feel? 

Joe: First of all, after all of the games, whether it’s football or basketball, we always come out on the court or on the field and mingle with the players. They love that because a lot of their parents don’t live around here.

Sherrill: I’d like to thank them. Thank you for picking Georgia State because I know they all had choices. You know, we don’t have any kids of our own, so these guys are like my kids. 

Joe: We just love them to death.

Espen: So where do you think your love for the Georgia State athletics comes from? 

Sherrill: Well, I think that going to the games has been so much fun, whether we win or lose. I think we have great coaches that are helping bring the kids forward. So, every part I touch just gets more and more inspiring.

Espen: And Joe, you have been adopted into the Georgia State family, what has it been like to immerse yourself in the program? 

Joe: Well, *points to his hat* it has turned my hair blue. It’s been so much fun because we always think of these guys as our kids. It’s just amazing how they accept us as we accept them.

Espen: You have had the ability to watch our football program ever since the 2010 season. So, what were your initial reactions when it was announced the university was creating a football program?

Sherrill: I was absolutely shocked; I couldn’t believe it. It was such a huge undertaking. 

Espen: What was the experience of that first game at the Georgia Dome like? 

Sherrill: I think 30,000 people came. When we stood up and we actually had an alma mater, I almost cried because I didn’t even think we had an alma mater when I went to school here. I was just shocked and amazed and excited.

Espen: What have been some of your best memories around Georgia State sports?

Sherrill: Definitely R.J.’s shot against Baylor because everyone in the stadium wanted us to win since we were the underdogs. 

Espen: R.J. hit that shot when I was a junior in high school. I can remember thinking to myself that Georgia State might have been the school for me after that game.

Sherrill: See what athletics can do for the school? It is so important. 

Joe: I’ll say it again, whether you’re a student or an alumnus, go to the games. You are going to have so much fun. You are really contributing to the school.