The road that Greg and Deb Ploetz traveled is a reflection of the struggles that many of our teammates and their families have experienced from this dreaded disease.
After being diagnosed with a possible form of CTE , Greg decided to paint a tribute to his teammates. The completion of this painting is a story of his heart holding on while his mental capabilities and hand-eye coordination deteriorated. This painting was completed in 2010, and it is obvious that he was struggling with details. However, his efforts are not about art; they are about the human spirit winning battles against his aggressive opponent. This painting is a special and personal gift from Greg Ploetz to his teammates--a victory of the heart over the mind.
May God bless Greg, his family and all of our teammates and their families who have suffered to the end with this hideous disease
In this lithograph autographs of former DKR players are combined with one of Greg Ploetz last attempts to share a memory about Longhorn sports before CTE completely ravaged his mind . It is not a good painting, but that is not the point. Paintings deliver messages that words can never yield and the message here is that Greg is struggling to remain cognitive while rendering his art work, but his effort is unsuccessful.
The painting is historically incorrect. What this painting offers is a glimpse into Greg's state of mind as he paints. Norman Rockwall's decades ago rendered a piece of art titled "Self portrait". Greg Ploetz has rendered a self portrait of CTE’s impact on the mind.
Even though Greg was a defensive player as a Longhorn, in this painting Greg ( #31) believes he is the offensive player who delivers the key block that results in James Street’s (#16) ) winning touchdown run in the national championship game against Notre Dame in 1970.
In fact, James Street does not make this touchdown , the Notre Dame jersey colors are incorrect, the stadium architecture is not the Cotton Bowl, and Billy Dale (#22) is not a blocker on this play. This painting reflects what CTE looks like from Greg's confused state of mind .
Deb Ploetz and I started our journey together four years ago to tell the story of CTE. It is time for the journey looking back to end and looking forward to begin. This Lithograph with 250 plus signatures of DKR players should have value in the market place and Deb Ploetz wants to offer this historical piece to a CTE tax exempt to raise money to fund future CTE research. If this auction goal is accomplished, the artwork will be the only Longhorn sports artifact with this many signatures from DKR players. Players who delivered 3 national championships and 11 Southwest Conference Championships to The University of Texas from 1957-1977.
Deb Ploetz and Billy Dale