Lewis Grizzard Wednesday:: The Clemson Article

It appears in honor of CNN’s birthday, T. Kyle King and Mr. Sanchez are having a “Crossfire” like discussion regarding Clemson and Tennessee as football rivals.  T. Kyle alluded to this article in his claim for the Tigers, but in honor of their debate, here is the full ariticle in all of its glory.  A classic we’ve all read countless times, but a goodie all the while…

Great moments in a would be father’s life

To my Son, if I ever have one:

Kid, I am writing this on September 3, 1984. I have just returned from Athens, where I spent Saturday watching the University of Georgia, your old dad’s alma matter, play football against Clemson.

While the events of the day were still fresh on my mind, I wanted to recount them so if you are ever born, you can read this and perhaps be able to share one of the great moments in your father’s life.

Saturday was a wonderful day on the Georgia campus.

We are talking blue, cloudless sky, a gentle breeze and a temperature suggesting summer’s end and autumn’s approach.

I said the blessing before we had lunch. I thanked the Lord for three things: fried chicken, potato salad and for the fact he had allowed me the privilege of being a Bulldog.

“And , Dear Lord,” I prayed, “bless all those not as fortunate as I.”

Imagine my son, 82,000 people, most whom were garbed in red, gathered together gazing down on a lush valley of hedge and grass where soon historic sporting combat would be launched.

Clemson was ranked number 2 in the nation, and Georgia, feared too young to compete with the veterans from beyond the river, could only dream, the smart money said, of emerging three hours hence victorious.

They had us 20-6 at the half, son. A man sitting in front of me said, “I just hope we don’t get embarrassed.”

My boy, I had never seen such a thing as came to pass in the second half. Todd Williams threw one long and high, and Herman Archie caught it in the end zone, and it was now 20-13.

Georgia got the ball again and scored again, and it was now 20-20, and my mouth was dry, and my hands were shaking, and this Clemson fan who had been running his mouth the whole ballgame suddenly shut his fat face.

Son, we got ahead 23-20, and the ground trembled and shook, and many were taken by fainting spells.

Clemson’s kicker, Donald Igwebuike, tied it 23-23 and this sacred place became the center of the universe.

Only seconds were left when Georgia’s kicker, Kevin Butler, stood poised in concentration. The ball rushed toward him, and it was placed upon the tee a heartbeat before his right foot launched it heavenward.

A lifetime later, the officials threw their arms aloft. From 60 yards away, Kevin Butler had been true, and Georgia led and would win 26-23.

I hugged perfect strangers and kissed a fat lady on the mouth. Grown men wept. Lightening flashed. Thunder rolled. Stars fell, and joy swept through, fetched by a hurricane of unleashed emotions.

When Georgia beat Alabama 18-17 in 1965, it was a staggering victory. When we came back against Georgia Tech and won 29-28 in1978, the Chapel bell rang all night. When we beat Florida 26-21 in the last seconds in 1980, we called it a miracle. And when we beat Notre Dame 17-10 in the Sugar Bowl that same year for the national championship, a woman pulled up her skirt and showed the world the Bulldog she had sewn on he underbritches.

But Saturday may have been even better than any of those.

Saturday in Athens was a religious experience.

I give this to you, son. Read it and re-read it, and keep it next to your heart. And when people want to know how you wound up with the name “Kevin” let them read it, and then they will know.


7 Responses to “Lewis Grizzard Wednesday:: The Clemson Article”

  1. 1 bulldoginexile June 2, 2010 at 9:57 am

    All time favorite. I remember watching it at the Lodge at Camp Glynn on Blythe Island. Our family spend every Labor Day growing up with other families from church for a last summer’s weekend. TV was strictly forbidden, as this was important family bonding and fellowship time.

    I believe my father persuaded others that this was indeed religious and it would be an insult to God and Heaven if we didn’t watch.

    He was right.

  2. 2 Brandon June 2, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Great article, Greater blog, Greatest journalist ever. Hopefully Lewis made a big pot of grits for the Big Man the day he got called Home.

  3. 3 ucheedawg June 2, 2010 at 10:11 am

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again-UGA v Clemson should be opening game every year.

    And best Lewis article ever written.

  4. 4 Todd June 2, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    “We are talking blue, cloudless sky, a gentle breeze and a temperature suggesting summer’s end and autumn’s approach.”

    I think of this one quote at the beginning of September every year. Gives me goose bumps. And yes, Clemson should be opening game every year. Hell, kick Vandy out of the SEC and bring in Clemson.

  5. 5 MikeInValdosta June 2, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Corbin, bless you, bless you for making Wednesdays as special as the Lord intended. Stores should still close at noon to read the Wednesday Grizzard reprint.

  6. 7 Tarpaw June 2, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    I’m an ’85 Clemson graduate. I sat in Sanford Stadium on a Thursday night in ’82 to watch the battle of the ’80 and ’81 National Champions and am still amazed at the Herschel Walker pancake block on Dan Benish. I watched Donald and Butler trade 60+ misses on the last two snaps of a 16-16 tie in Death Valley in ’83, an omen of yet to come. I sat in the endzone a couple of rows straight behind the goalposts in Athens in ’84 and watched the ball grow larger and larger off of Butler’s foot and almost land in my lap. I watched the the game ending/winning David Treadwell kicks in ’86 and ’87. We split these five games 2-2-1 but I’ve never enjoyed any other games more, win or lose. Not sure if we should play every year of if Clemson should even aspire to the SEC (be careful what you ask for) but man, what a rivalry.

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