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A Tribute To A Damn Good Dawg . . .

You all have known for some time about the death of the University of Georgia's beloved mascot, UGA VI. I'm not going to be able to provide you with any details that you haven't read elsewhere. And I have to admit, I didn't really know UGA VI that well. I only met him once or twice, but he seemed friendly.

What I do know is that UGA VI, and his predecessors, symbolized the best of the University and its athletic programs. Tenacity. Loyalty. The UGA line is a tradition, one which the Seiler family has been diligent enough to nurture, and kind enough to share. UGA VI was our mascot, but he was the Seilers' pet. I think I speak for all of Bulldog Nation in extending to them our deepest sympathies.

I'm sure that the message boards are probably brimming with Georgia Tech fans making tasteless jokes about UGA VI's passing. Don't pay them any attention. Any man who will tease another over the death of a dog is really no man at all. As my mother used to remind me, sometimes having good manners requires putting up with the bad manners of others. Besides, I don't recall the editors of the Chicago Tribune batting an eyelash when one of the nimrods who oversee their jalopy forgot that wet highways are slippery.

But now is not the time to be petty. It's the time to remember that UGA VI oversaw a renaissance in University of Georgia football. His first season, 1999, included two of the most disasterous games of my entire University of Georgia fanhood: the Bobby Gaston hackjob against Tech and the Auburn game which was all but over before I'd even reached my seat. His last season saw a #2 national ranking, resounding victories over Auburn and Florida, and a rousing Sugar Bowl victory. I cannot imagine a better finale, unless Mark Richt hoisting a crystal football were involved.

And while UGA VI never threw a pass or made a tackle (leaving aside the occasional steak), he was perhaps the most visible symbol of a football program that re-emerged on the national stage while he watched. He was a furry, slobbering ambassador of good will. A Damn Good Dawg.

We'll miss you, buddy.