If you don't know what a Hilltopper is, like me, you are in the majority. Sure, most people would realize that the term "Hilltopper" is used as the mascot for Georgia's upcoming opponent this week, Western Kentucky. But the Division I-AA school's mascot is not as easy to understand as Stanford's Tree or Auburn's War Eagle.
I could not grasp what a Hilltopper is. Is it a person that runs to the "top" of a "hill." What would someone do that for? Exercise? This might be a really fit bunch coming to Athens.
Is a Hilltopper some one that must top, or do better than a hill – something like a mountain? The Western Kentucky Mountains?
I was lost. I figured I had better ask those in the "know" about it – maybe they would have some answers.
"I have no idea what a Hilltopper is," said a puzzled Thomas Brown, who is the Bulldogs' starting tailback. "You can try to break it down and separate it, but it really does not make sense to me. Is it a person that climbs on top of hills? I don't know."
Brown was no help. Maybe hard-hitting Tra Battle, who had stately-looking glasses on could help me in my quest.
"I have no idea what a Hilltopper is," Battle confessed. "I just know it's their mascot. I have seen their insignia. It's a guy's hand with a towel, I guess."
Battle said the Bulldogs are not trying to intimidate Western Kentucky by passing out 25,000 "terrible towels" for the first time this week, but that he had "never thought about it" and "was going to look into that more." I had other matters to look in to.
"I don't know what a Hilltopper is," said a laughing Kelin Johnson.
With all the laughing and unanswered questions, it seemed the entire team was just toying with me. They were not willing to give me information to finish my story. I was going to have to dig deeper – figure out a way to crack the blockade that was the Bulldogs' response to my questions. It was time to go to one of my top quote guys over the last few years.
"In high school I was a Hoya," said star cornerback Paul Oliver, who choose to completely ignore my line of questions about the opposition's mascot so he could talk about his glory days at Harrison High (another ploy by these Dawgs to keep me from the truth).
That was it. I was done. These Dawgs were not going to keep me running around trying to catch my tail with their question dodging. I left Tuesday frustrated, but determined. I will find out what a Hilltopper is – it is now my quest.