There's a sense of sadness at the Carenen home these days. A t-shirt that my older daughter, a Georgia grad, gave me nearly twenty years ago is about to be retired. Here's the backstory of a wonderful t-shirt that has "Beware of Dawg" on the front and, across the back, a picture of UGA V, the University of Georgia's mascot Bulldog, launching at an Auburn University player.
It was 1996, and Georgia was playing at Auburn when a War Eagle player scored a first quarter touchdown on a 6-yard pass. He began dancing in the end zone where UGA V and his handler were stationed. UGA V took exception to the obnoxious display of self promotion, lunged at the player, and just missed taking a chunk out of the opponent's backside. The player calmed down.
Georgia won the game, 56-49 in four overtimes. The Auburn player became academically ineligible the next year and left school. Recently, he was arrested on charges of heroin distribution and weapons violations. Obviously, he never got over his encounter with UGA V.
The photo of UGA V and the lunge became a national treasure. One can hardly discern the photo on my shirt now, washed out and worn out over years of use. The shirt barely hangs by a thread when I wear it, and the thought of retiring it is troubling. Maybe I'll wear it one more time, or two more times. Maybe I'll give it a reprieve. After all, it does still hang on me by a thread.