PASADENA, Calif. — Georgia walk-on Frank Sinkwich IV figures there wasn’t a single Sinkwich left in Athens on Monday.
They were in Pasadena, Calif., watching family history come full circle.
Sinkwich IV, an Athens Academy graduate, is the great-grandson of Heisman winner and Georgia great Frank Sinkwich. The elder Sinkwich, fresh off a Heisman Trophy win, helped lead Georgia to a 9-0 win over UCLA in the 1943 Rose Bowl.
“Honestly (I’m in) disbelief that I’m here now in southern California 75 years later — same last name, same team, same game,” Sinkwich IV said during media day Saturday. “It’s really a shock. It means everything to me and my family.”
No. 3 Georgia (13-1) topped No. 2 Oklahoma (12-2) 54-48 to win the Rose Bowl in double overtime. Georgia will play for the national championship at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Jan. 8.
Sinkwich IV, a fullback who is redshirting this season, estimated that 14 family members, including his parents, Frank Sinkwich III and Lacy, his sister Adeline, his grandmother and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins, made the trip. Frank thought it might be 16, including in-laws.
A version of this trip had been in Frank Sinkwich III’s mind for some time. He planned to take his family back to the Rose Bowl if the Bulldogs earned a spot in the game. Having a Sinkwich on the sidelines, even if it’s just in a jersey and sweats, wasn’t really a thought. The combination of nostalgia for his grandfather’s Rose Bowl performance and excitement of his son’s generation to take in the game made for a week, he said, “worthy of a Hollywood backdrop.”
Sinkwich IV never met his great-grandfather, but knows about Georgia’s trip west in 1943. He’s seen footage of the Bulldogs’ trip to Los Angeles, where grass was more visible than skyscrapers.
“It’s interesting to walk out in the same town and just think about what it must have been like 75 years ago,” Sinkwich IV said.
Said his father: “He has been interested in football since day one. He loves it and he loves Georgia football. He never knew his grandfather, who passed away in 1990, but he grew up knowing his heritage and over the years it became more ingrained and he understood it more.”
Before the game kicked off, the Sinkwich family called the whole experience “surreal.”
“Someone said it was a pilgrimage and it is,” Lacy Sinkwich said. “It’s amazing. All of his grandfathers would be so proud because he’s worked so hard and he’s doing his part right now to keep his spot and be a part of the team, and do what they want him to do.”