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University of Georgia’s Spike, mascot, watches the volleyball match against Florida in Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Georgia on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. Georgia fell to Florida 3-0. (Photo/Caitlin Jett)

There’s a debate that has divided classrooms, friend groups and coworkers among partisan lines for years. Which Georgia mascot is the best?

No. 3 — Hairy Dawg

First seen in 1981, Georgia’s anthropomorphic bulldog is at almost all university sponsored events. But he is the worst mascot.

It starts with the smile. 

A football game lasts three hours or more. For that entire time, Hairy Dawg keeps that smile. You make eye contact with him during a timeout halfway through the third quarter. You want to sit down, but Hairy Dawg is staring at you, challenging the love you have for your university. You remain standing, out of fear. 

After the game, you can’t escape him. You stand outside Snelling at an hour you’re ashamed of. A crispy chicken is calling. You walk toward the door, and you think about Hairy Dawg’s biceps. He’s probably in the gym right now, thinking about you sitting down in the student section. You turn around and head back to your dorm, still hungry. 

No. 2 — Uga X

Uga is the face of the university’s mascots. With a lineage of “pure white English bulldogs” tracing back to the 1950s, the current Uga is the tenth in this lineage.

According to the dog food brand Pedigree’s age calculator, 10 human years are equal to 65 Bulldog years. By this calculation, Uga’s traceable lineage would go back to the 17th century if he were a human. 

Uga is undeniably cute, and reading about his lineage is surprisingly interesting. 

But, Uga gets to sit in an air-conditioned dog house with the best view in the entire stadium. He doesn’t know how it feels to sit in the southwest student section without sunglasses for an entire football game. I do, and my ophthalmologist says the damage is permanent. 

No. 1 — Spike

Like Hairy Dawg, this one starts with a smile, but Spike’s smile is welcoming and appreciative.

Spike is present at indoor sporting events — volleyball, basketball and gymnastics. 

He understands his role. He’s never going to beat out Uga’s popularity, and he will never see the attendance numbers Hairy Dawg sees. 

Still, Spike is happy to jump around and dance. He is content with your presence. Glad you made it to a game. His smile says “Hey it’s OK if you don’t want to get up and cheer. I’m just glad you are here.” 

Introduced as a new volleyball mascot in the late ’90s, Spike is the ultimate entertainer. When he dances on his head, Snapchats spike so much the cell service at Stegeman Coliseum goes down. He is a true talent and, objectively, the best mascot.

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