Lewis Grizzard Wednesday: To My Son

In what has become a tradition around here, we open the season with our favorite Lewis Grizzard column.  It epitomizes what it means to tailgate and enjoy a game in Sanford Stadium.

Go Dawgs!

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 her 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.

30 Responses to “Lewis Grizzard Wednesday: To My Son”

  1. 1 Sanford222view August 29, 2012 at 10:04 am

    I lived in Hilton Head during this season and my father and I flew to this game on his new partner’s Lear jet. His partner happened to be a big Clemson fan and was obviously rather wealthy. He gained this wealth at a young age so this probably contributed to his cockiness. As you might guess he was running his mouth about Clemson the whole flight to Athens. Let’s just say the flight back to HHI was just a tad bit more peaceful.

    That article brings back some great memories from my teenage years.

  2. 2 Tim (Watkinsville) August 29, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    This is my favorite Lewis article of all of them. He captures the feel of a Big Game in Athens. Damn I miss Lewis…

  3. 3 Marcus Boone August 29, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    This was the last UGA game I attended in Athens. I sinced moved to FL and then to Texas and have not had an opportunity to return to my native state. If there is a game to be the last one for someone to see in Athens, it was this game…another candidate would be the UGA/South Carolina game when Herschel Walker and George Rogers squared off.

  4. 5 BARRY COKER August 29, 2012 at 2:38 pm



  5. 6 rugbydawg79 August 29, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    I was at 3 out of 4 and watched run lindsey run on tv–I was very fortunate that my first UGA game was the flea flicker—ready for a great year !! go DOGS !!!

  6. 7 Roger August 26, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    Article should read 9/23/84 as game was played 9/22/84.

  7. 8 Mary-Catherine August 27, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    The Bulldawgs live on and I miss you Lewis Grizzard! . ~R.I.P

  8. 9 Katie August 27, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    Lewis and I and many others love our GA Bulldawgs and this is one of his best stories about them!!!

  9. 10 Danita Clark Able August 28, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful LG article!

  10. 11 Latrelle Kitzmiller August 28, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    I use to read his columes daily, I worked in the library in a high school . I have had the pleasure of reading his books, and loving them all. I still remember some of his famous lines like” girls from ga . have the smallest bladders in the world.. I also heard some great stories about the dawgs , playing Notr Dame, seems that a priest and some loyal ga fans were riding the elevator in one of the hotels, and as it descended the priest said that Notr dame would win because they had the pope on thier side, and one of the faithful dawgs fan, finished it off by saying” ———-the pope, we have Herschel walker”

  11. 13 Buddy Corley August 26, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    Love those Dawgs and miss Lewis RIP

  12. 14 Sandra Hanson August 30, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    God bless you Lewis Grizzard. I know your blood ran red and black!

  13. 15 Don September 4, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    I am not fond of all of Grizzards stories but always enjoyed reading them. He is from Moreland GA, not too far from where I live in Newnan. I’ve just finished re-reading his book Kathy Sue Loudermilk, I Love You, some of the short stories in the book are hilarious. The book was published back in early 80’s, so read it if you can find one. BTW, I’m a Gator but Grizzard was cool!

  14. 17 Gene Howard September 5, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    I too miss Lewis. Read his articles in the paper before I read anything else. I also bleed RED and Black. R.I.P. GO DAWGS!!!

  15. 19 joelyne mcgriff November 19, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    My favorite article from 1984 after Tech game only said “Frankly I Don’t want to talk about”.

  16. 21 Dave Lee August 29, 2016 at 9:36 pm

    I love Lewis !! Damn I miss him !!

  17. 22 Gary Lamb August 30, 2016 at 8:23 am

    Grew up with Lewis in the small Moreland community,went to high school with him,played basketball with him and I still miss his humor over the years.Gary Lamb

  18. 23 Donna Wilder August 30, 2016 at 8:30 am

    Oh my sweet Lord.., how much I do love Lewis Grizzard to this day… I searched for the Macon Telegraph everyday to read his columns. I raised my two boys listening to his tapes ane reading his books… Sure do miss the Greatest Southerner ever known…..in my lifetime.
    Donna Wilder –

  19. 24 CJ August 30, 2016 at 10:34 am

    Lewis Grizzard, Larry Munson, Herschel Walker….God it was great to be a student at UGA at that time.

  20. 25 Louis Harris August 31, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    Awesome. I remember this game well. We had just moved to Greenville, SC. The fervor over Clemson football was unreal. There was a road that had Tiger paws painted on it for about a 1/4 mile. Everyone wore Clemson garb. Then there was me, new kid in school and I rooted for the Dawgs. My mom’s cousin played with the 80 team and grandpa went to UGA. Everyone was huddled around their radio the whole game and we were still able to tune into Larry Munson from the North Ga station. We actually turned off the game at halftime feeling pretty depressed. Only later we found out about the miracle kick. I remember reading the paper the next day and wearing all my Bulldog garb around the neighborhood. I think that game single handedly knocked Clemson down a notch. Everyone was talking about how they were going to win the national championship on probation. They had a few more good seasons but didn’t really come back to glory until this past year.

  21. 26 Brenda Canida O'Brien August 31, 2016 at 10:40 pm

    How on earth could anyone not love Lewis Grizzard and his stories. This one is a prize.

  22. 27 Phyllis September 3, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    Love Lewis and love the Dawgs!
    Never can be replaced!

  23. 28 Linda September 6, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    I loved Lewis. The pic you posted made him look so bad towards the end. That was a real loss to us and Heaven’s “touchdown”.

  1. 1 Road Tripping: Florida Edition « The Grit Tree Trackback on October 24, 2012 at 7:32 am
  2. 2 8.29.13 … Just thinking … US redrawn as 50 states with equal population … immigration middle ground … Go DAWGs, do it for Lewis … Grand Opening Romare Bearden Park … | Dennard's Clipping Service Trackback on August 29, 2013 at 8:34 pm

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