SAVANNAH - Faced with attending the Rose Bowl to root for his University of Georgia Bulldogs on Jan. 1 or a court hearing in Savannah the following day, Savannah attorney John Patrick Connell threw a Hail Mary pass last week, hoping a judge would share his passion.
Connell, who was scheduled to appear before Chatham County Chief Superior Court Judge Michael Karpf on Tuesday for a civil case, filed an emergency motion for a continuance on Dec. 22.
His justification: his older brother, Matt Conell, had tickets and travel accommodations for the game pitting the Bulldogs against the University of Oklahoma Sooners in a college playoff semifinal in Pasadena.
“The 2018 Rose Bowl will be a momentous occasion for the Dawgs,” Connell’s appeal read.
“It is truly great to be a Georgia Bulldawg,” wrote Connell, a 2001 UGA graduate and a self-described lifelong Bulldog fan. “And to have a loving and generous older brother who has given me the opportunity to watch the Dawgs take on the Sooners in the most famous stadium in the land on New Year’s Day.”
He described the football game as “at what will hopefully be the last stop before we play for, and win, a national championship.”
After a long discussion of his avid fandom of the Dawgs — including attending the same Bainbridge high school as UGA coach Kirby Smart - and his desire to catch their future legends on the historic gridiron at the Rose Bowl, Connell wrote, “I respectfully request that the court remove this case from the trial calendar of Jan. 2, 2018, so that I may return home from the Rose Bowl that day.”
Connell met his match in Karpf.
In a three-page order filed Wednesday, Karpf “reluctantly” granted a continuance until later in the month, but set two conditions.
One, a mundane directive that Connell must inform the opposing attorney of the continuance and, two, that in the “unfortunate happenstance that the University of Georgia does not emerge triumphant” on Jan. 1, Connell must appear before Karpf at 9 a.m. Jan. 3 “and show cause as to why he should not be held in contempt (of court) for failing to secure a Bulldog victory through his presence in Pasadena.”
“Counsel’s motion is certainly enlightening,” Karpf wrote. “(Connell) has made it clear to this court that a victory for the Bulldogs hinges on nothing less than the very attendance of (Connell), himself at the Rose Bowl” on New Year’s Day.
Karpf, himself a UGA graduate in both undergraduate and law school, noted that while he lamented the lack of “relations who are so generous as to arrange a last-minute trip to Pasadena …(he) will watch the game from the confines of (his) couch in Savannah” noting the it would be less glamorous than the Rose Bowl and accompanied by a much humbler parade “but has the advantage of being more convenient to the administration of justice in Chatham County.”