What I am referring to is a basic question. When or how exactly did you become Dawgly? In my opinion, there are two ways to get there:
1. You were influenced by family, friends or geography. Yeah, I know it's kinda' broad, but it's like being born with big feet or a Methodist (or a big footed Methodist). You can't help it because it has always been this way.
2. You had a revelation. An ephiphany. Something that inspired you.
For me, it was November 25, 1971. I saw the light (and a 4th down conversion late in the game...)
Earlier that day, the nation was treated to the "Game of the Century." Nebraska, behind Johnny Rodgers, whipped Oklahoma 35-31. These were the pre-cable television days. ABC was THE the only source for college football.
However, I distinctly remember not seeing that game because our Philco black and white television blew a picture tube. I'm sure we had a wonderful Thanksgiving day dinner, but it was sans football in our household. My old neighborhood in San Antonio was all about college football. One side of the street was "for" Arkansas, the other side "for" Texas. This was back in the old Southwest Conference days...and when those two hooked up, at least for a day, things weren't so neighborly. I digress...
Later that afternoon, my father said we were going to a friends house for a post-dinner celebration. Normally, I would not have been so keen on this idea, but they had a daughter named Bobbie. She was blond, had this awesome dimple in her chin and was 13. An older woman! I was 10 and the reigning 4h grade Bicycle Rodeo champion. I had a lime-green Spyder bike with a sissy bar, tiger striped banana seat and 5 speed shifter. Surely Bobbie was still impressed.
After dessert, we gathered around their Magnavox color tv and joined game two of ABC's double header already in progress. Georgia vs. Georgia Tech at Grant Field in Atlanta. The Goodyear blimp was high above the stadium, beaming live pictures in color! This convinced my Dad to ditch the old Philco and buy a color Zenith. What a game. Georgia converts late in the game on 4th down to a tight end to keep it's last drive alive after trailing all night long. Jimmy Poulous (I'm pretty sure) sneaks over for the winning touchdown. Dogs (pre-"Dawgs") win 28-24. And I'm hooked.
I don't know what happened to Bobbie that evening. Whatever shot at love was gone forever. Perhaps she saw a man with his priorities totally in order and realized she could never compete (much like my wife today during the bulk of the Fall). And I don't know what it was about this Georgia team that just entranced me. But those red helmets, and smart white pants with the red and black trim just stood out. And the way they won. I thought it was an even better game than the earlier match that I did not see.
About a year later, my father called the family together after dinner. He told us that we were going to be leaving Texas. He had accepted a job at the University of Georgia. It was very difficult leaving all my friends behind, but move we did. In August, '73, we settled outside of Watkinsville, Oconee county (population about 250 at that time, I believe). The next month, I saw my first game at Sanford Stadium. A 7-7 tie against Pittsburgh...featuring a freshman named Anthony Dorsett (pronounced Dorsett, like "corsett"...before he got all phonetic). It was magnificent. Not the result, but just being there.
Through the ups (my freshman year was '80...what a great time to be alive!) to the downs (most of the 90's), it's been life changing...and a lifelong obsession (hey, if it weren't, I guess I would not be typing right now would I?) But I remember the moment when I knew, was changed forever. In the living room of a neighbor whose last name totally escapes me almost 38 years ago. I became Dawgly.
Tell me: When did you know? Or has it always been?