I heard my first "woof! woof!" at the Varsity --the real one in Atlanta -- in 1955 or so, just before the big annual game. I didn't like that God-forsaken noise then just like I don't like it now.There's something about a barking 60 year-old man named Cleve in red britches and a tobacco-stained basball cap that just didn't appeal to me, even if he was my own uncle from Commerce. Those Dawg fans were woofin' and sniffin'. The Dawgs coach then was named --fittingly -- Butts. I became a nine-year-old Tech fan right then and there that very day, though I didn't tell Uncle Cleve.
Now I stuck with my Jackets ever since, quietly going against many in my own family. I went out of state to school but my Jackets were waiting on me when I moved back and set up shop in Walton County, but that's enough about me. This little stab at prose is about why I root for the Jackets and why I don't root for them Dawgs. Now don't get me wrong. Georgia's a nice school with lots of wonderful fields of study for the academically-inclined student athlete. Today's Dawg can major in Recreation and Leisure Studies, Turfgrass Management, Health Promotion and Behavior, and Sport Studies. They have an exciting variety of science majors like Food Service Science, Sports Science, Poultry Genetics, and Pork Studies. They don't, apparently, have any sort of major in Modern Travel Procedures or Airport Security and some of their fans don't play well with others, but that's nitpicking.
So I stood there amongst the throng of giant adult college football fans that chilly November day in 1955 and made a simple, luck-of-the moment choice. I haven't looked back since.
I've seen the likes of Larry Morris, Pepper Rodgers, Billy Lotheridge, Kim King, Lenny Snow, Rick Lewis, Rock Perdoni, Eddie McAshan, Brent Cunningham, Randy Rhino, Jimmy Robinson, Lucius Sanford, Eddie Lee Ivory, Mike Kelley, Al Richardson, Robert Lavette, John "Refridgerator Mover" Davis, Gary Lee, Jerry Mays, Shawn Jones, Big Play Willie Clay, Marco Coleman, Coleman Rudolph, Jerrelle Williams, Ron Rogers, Keith Brooking, Joe Hamilton, Greg Gathers, and Goose Godsey wear the White and Gold. I've been disappointed a few times along the way, but the gifts have been special indeed. (1990 was very,very good to me.)
The reason I became a Tech fan may seem silly now. But every choice does change a thousand paths and I believe with all my heart I chose the ideal school --for me --to spend a southern life rooting for. May the good times continue to roll and let it be known that no amount of woofin' or sniffin' will ever change my loyalty to Ramblin' Wreck Nation.