That’s why it was easy to get him out Thursday night to attend the Etowah Scholarship Foundation’s Tailgating for a Cause held at the Clarence Brown Conference Center.
“Some of my friends invited me to come tonight, and they said ‘football’ and I said ‘when’ and ‘where,’” he chuckled.
McGivaren had a serious side about the cause that benefits from the foundation’s tailgating and “silent auction.”
“It gives someone an opportunity to better him or herself who otherwise might not have that chance,” he said. “Who knows how much good can come from something like that?”
That seriousness is shared by others, and they don’t care which school fellow givers root for during athletic competitions.
McGivaren said even though he is “a lifelong Auburn fan” he enjoys the company of all sports fans except, perhaps, the day of the big game.
“During the game we’re heavyset against each other, but in the parking lot before and after … everyone shakes your hand and is glad to meet you,” he said.
Some at Thursday’s event, which drew about 400, tried to collect sports memorabilia and other items up for bid at the “silent auction.”
The auctioned items ranged from autographed footballs from Georgia head coach Mark Richt and former Cass High star Richard Samuel, who plays football for Richt, to corn hole boards with bean bags and a night out for two at Barnsley Gardens and Hilton Garden Inn to an autographed book signed by Auburn head coach Gene Chizik and even ticket packages to see the Atlanta and Rome Braves play this year.
Bob Mackessy, one of those bidding on a football signed by Alabama head coach Nick Saban, was a perfect illustration of the camaraderie that exists between rivals. Mackessy said he was trying to obtain the item for a friend who is an Alabama fan.
“I’m a Notre Dame fan,” he said proudly. “I guess you wouldn’t find many Notre Dame fans in Cartersville, Ga.”
Mackessy is a die-hard Irish fan, too, even venturing a guess about how his team will do this year.
Asked for the guess, he closed his eyes a few seconds as if summoning the answer from somewhere, then responded the Irish should win “10 games” this year.
Mackessy also was knowledgeable about the scholarships given, calling it something that’s important to Bartow County.
Brian Eberhard, a Cartersville native who now lives in Rome, also participated in the “silent auction,” placing a bid on a football autographed by Georgia Tech’s head coach.
He said he likes being around people interested in sports and was looking forward to talking about the subject throughout the evening.
“I’m here to have a little fun, to make a donation and, maybe, get an autographed football from Paul Johnson,” he laughed.
He added that he graduated from Georgia Tech last May. “Football is my No. 1 sport.”
John Mroczko, who chairs the board of directors for the Etowah Foundation, said the selection of sports as a fundraising theme rests on its effectiveness.
“We had raised $20,000 before we held this,” Mroczko said. “We expect this to be our biggest and best tailgating benefit.”
He said sports is mainstream America.
“It brings people from all walks of life,” he said. “Tonight I saw people from Ohio State, Utah, LSU, Alabama, Auburn and Florida. Obviously there were a lot of people from Georgia, Georgia Tech and Georgia Southern and all over the state.”
He noted scholarships handled through the Etowah Foundation might help Bartow Countians attend those very learning institutions as well as countless others.
The foundation in 2011 provided scholarships for more than 200 individuals at a cost of $176,000.
Since 1982 the foundation has helped more than 3,000 students across Bartow County attend college by awarding more than $3 million in scholarships.
Hershel Wisebram, an ex-officio foundation board member and current fundraiser, said having sports figures talk as part of the program boosted interest.
The four featured speakers included Tony Barnhart, Wes Durham, Scott Howard and Loran Smith.
Barnhart is perhaps better known as “Mr. College Football” and is the author of “Southern Fried Football.” Durham is a sportscaster for Georgia Tech and the Atlanta Falcons while Howard is a sportscaster for the Bulldogs and Smith is a former sportscaster for the Dogs.