Archive for the 'Lewis Grizzard' Category

Lewis Grizzard Wednesday: A fan of the ’93 Phillies

October, 1993 

I’m just as much a Braves fan as the next Atlanta chop-chop yahoo, but I’ve got to admit I’ve come to like the Philadelphia Phillies, too.

You know why? Because the prissy pots don’t.

They quoted this woman at a hair salon in the Atlanta papers recently. She was asked what she thought of the Phillies after watching the first two games of the National League Championship Series.

She said, “The tobacco chewing was pretty gross … I’m an environmentalist and so I just can’t understand the tobacco in terms of putting it into your body. There was also some pretty bad hair out there.”

Go shampoo a goat and leave the Phillies to look as they damn well please.

You hit something white with a stick and then you run and slide around in the dirt. You sweat and you spit and you curse.

In “A League of Their Own” Tom Hanks was trying to explain to one of his female baseball players about the game. She was crying.

“There’s no crying in baseball,” he said.

Of course there isn’t. There’s yelling and screaming and belching and John Kruk of the Phillies reminds me of the kind of guy who probably still thinks it’s funny to make escaping gas sounds by cupping his palm under his armpit.

That is still funny. It’s funnier than “Married … With Children.”

What to do with the prissy pots?

“I’m an environmentalist, so I just can’t understand the tobacco in terms of putting it in your body.”

That’s why they invented chewing tobacco, lady, so baseball players could spit in color. Take Len Dykstra of the Phillies.

Here’s a guy who would put up with Somalia for about as long as he would a hanging curveball. Len Dykstra is trying to win ball games, not get a GQ cover. He doesn’t care if tobacco juice dribbles out of the side of his mouth and onto his uniform. He wants it to do that. He wants to gross you out. It’s what he lives for.

Back to John Kruk. Ol’ John Kruk from West (by-God) Virginia. You look at this guy and you think outdoor plumbing.

He gets a raise, he buys a new satellite dish to put outside the trailer, so he can get all the stations when he isn’t making sounds with

his armpit. There was a quote from him once in Sports Illustrated. A woman saw him smoking a cigarette in the dugout during a spring training game.

She said something like, “Aren’t you ashamed? A professional athlete smoking.”

He responded, “I ain’t a professional athlete. I’m a baseball player.” The man’s a p-l-a-y-e-r.

I like that crazy relief pitcher, too. Mitch Williams. He’d give Queen Elizabeth a hotfoot. Hair? He styles with Kruk’s cigarette lighter.

I’m not on the sports pages anymore, so I can be a homer and root for the Braves.

But I would take the Phillies in a fight, a riot, a war. Send those guys to Somalia.

The only thing wrong with the Phillies is their name. Calling that crowd Phillies is like calling the corner barbershop, Christophe’s.

Call ’em the Muds or the Bloods. Or the Nightmare from the North.

I just happen to like my baseball teams a little on the trashy side.

Lewis Grizzard Wednesday: He up and died and broke my heart

My dog Catfish, the black Lab, died Thanksgiving night. The vet said his heart gave out.

Down in the country, they would have said, “Lewis’ dog up and died.” He would have been 12 had he lived ’til January.

Catfish had a good life. He slept indoors. Mostly he ate what I ate. We shared our last meal Tuesday evening in our living room in front of the television. We had a Wendy’s double cheeseburger and some chili.

Catfish was a gift from my friends Barbara and Vince Dooley. Vince, of course, is the athletic director at the University of Georgia. Barbara is a noted speaker and author. I named him driving back to Atlanta from Athens where I had picked him up at the Dooley’s home. I don’t know why I named him what I named him. He was all curled up in a blanket on my back seat. And I looked at him and it just came out. I called him, “Catfish.” I swear he raised up from the blanket and acknowledged. Then he severely fouled the blanket and my back seat.

He was a most destructive animal the first three years of his life. He chewed things. He chewed books. He chewed shoes. “I said to Catfish, ‘Heel,'” I used to offer from behind the dais, “and he went to my closet and chewed up my best pair of Guccis.” Catfish chewed TV remote-control devices. Batteries and all. He chewed my glasses. Five pairs of them.

One day, when he was still a puppy, he got out of the house without my knowledge. The doorbell rang. It was a young man who said, “I hit your dog, but I think he’s OK.” He was. He had a small cut on his head and he was frightened, but he was otherwise unhurt. “I came around the corner,” the young man explained, “and he was in the road chewing on something. I hit my brakes the second I saw him.” “Could you tell what he was chewing on?” I asked. “I know this sounds crazy,” the young man answered, “but I think it was a beer bottle.”

Catfish stopped chewing while I still had a house. Barely.

He was a celebrity, Catfish. I spoke recently in Michigan. Afterwards a lady came up to me and said, “I was real disappointed with your speech. You didn’t mention Catfish.”

He got his own mail. Just the other day the manufacturer of a new brand of dog food called “Country Gold,” with none other than George Jones’ picture on the package, sent Catfish a sample of its new product. For the record, he still preferred cheeseburgers and chili.

Catfish was once grand marshal of the Scottsboro, Ala., “Annual Catfish Festival.” He was on television and got to ride in the front seat of a police car with its siren on.

He was a patient, good-natured dog, too. Jordan, who is five, has been pulling his ears since she was two. She even tried to ride him at times. He abided with nary a growl.

Oh, that face and those eyes. What he could do to me with that face and those eyes. He would perch himself next to me on the sofa in the living room and look at me. And love and loyalty would pour out with that look, and as long as I had that, there was very little the human race could do to harm my self-esteem.

Good dogs don’t love bad people.

He was smart. He was fun. And he loved to ride in cars. There were times he was all that I had. And now he has up and died. My own heart, or what is left of it, is breaking.

Lewis Grizzard Wednesday

Lewis had many loves, one of which was tormenting our inferiors at the North Avenue Trade School. 

Georgia Tech Goliath Shown the Truth

So maybe I made a couple of comments like, “We beat them in football, we beat them in basketball. All they’ve got left to talk about are academics.”

Tech had beaten us three straight years and, quite frankly, those of us on the Georgia side grow a bit weary of reading about the supposed greatness of the Atlantic Coast Conference, of which Tech is a member.

If you read the paper and listen to the Tech fans, you’d think the  Jackets go to the Final Four every year.

The truth is, they’ve never achieved such loft, but Georgia has.

Back to the near fight.

I was in the restroom in The Omni. I was actually in the process of doing one of those things you do in a restroom when the guy behind me, who was wearing a yellow sweater, began to make disparaging remarks about me.

He said, “You rotten, no-good, gravy-sucking, four-eyed son-of-a-blah, blah, blah.”

After completing what I had come into the restroom to do, I turned around and said, “Listen you yellow-bellied, sap-sucking, slide rule-carrying, pimple-faced, blah, blah, blah, you have no business talking to me that way.”

The guy was big, too. He must have been 6 feet 4 inches, 220. A crowd had gathered by this time. I had no choice but to stand in. To have backed down, even to a guy who was 6 feet 6 inches, 260, would have been a sign of weakness.

I took my glasses off and slung them to the floor and said, “I’m 42 years old, been married three times, had two heart surgeries, haven’t exercised in 10 years, eat too many foods that contain cholesterol, still insist on white bread, have sticks for arms and legs, lose every time I play gin rummy, can’t putt and read a lot, but if you want to go at it, here I stand.”

The guy, who had to stand 6 feet 8 inches and 280 pounds, and probably was a member of a motorcycle gang and had a knife on his person, began to back down.

“I’m really sorry about making those quite disparaging remarks about you,” he said.

“That’s not good enough,” I countered. “I want you to repeat after me: ‘Georgia has kicked our butts in both football and basketball, and it is obvious that Georgia people are better human beings than Tech people.’”

He said, “Georgia has kicked our butts in both football and basketball, and it is obvious that Georgia people are better human beings than Tech people.”

“Now,” I said, “I want you to go from this place in shame. I want you to hurt from the knowledge that the great Atlantic Coast Conference is nothing but a gathering of bed-wetting communists and the University of Georgia is a pinnacle of learning and athletic greatness.”

The guy turned and walked out of the restroom, beaten to a verbal pulp.

“How big was he?” asked my lovely female companion as I reluctantly reconstructed the story.

“Had to be 6 feet 10 inches and weight 290,” I said.

She kissed me gently on the cheek and said, “Let’s go home, Rocky.”

It was one helluva night.

Why I Get No Kick Out of Soccer

So, soccer is in the news with all of these FIFA allegations that make Bobby Lowder look like a saint. Lewis held soccer in a very low regard. 

It was a referee’s controversial call in a soccer match that started World War I

Twenty-one reasons why I hate soccer and wouldn’t pay attention to a World Cup match if it were going on in my backyard and the beer was free:

1) There are only three final scores in soccer. They are 0-0, 1-0 and in a real scoring orgy 1-1.

2) Being able to bounce a ball off one’s head isn’t that impressive to me. I ‘ve seen countless seals do the same thing on The Ed Sullivan Show.

3) Soccer breeds fan violence because it’s very dull and when the fans get bored they pass the time by trying to kill and maim.

4) Nobody ever throws a high, inside fast ball in soccer, baseball’s answer to killing and maiming.

5) A man named Phil Woosnam, then president of the North American Soccer League, one bragged to me, “In 20 years, soccer will be bigger than pro football in the United States.” That was 25 years ago.

6) Soccer is responsible for soccer-style kickers in American football. I agree with the late Norman Van Brocklin when asked about his reaction to the game after his Atlanta Falcons had been beaten on a last-minute field goal by some guy from Yugoslavia or Afghanistan. Van Brocklin said, “They ought to tighten the immigration laws in this country.”

7) It was a referee’s controversial call in a soccer match that started World War I. No, I can’t prove that, but I don’t have to.

8) Too many soccer teams wear dark socks with their shorts, a violation of every fashion law ever written.

9) The theme song for the British Broadcasting Corporation’s coverage of the World Cup is Luciana Pavarotti’s version of Nessum Dorman, from Puccini’s opera, Turnadot. The theme song of WGN’s coverage of the Chicago Cubs baseball is Harry Carey singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”

10) If soccer were an American politician, it would be Alan Cranston (liberal senator from California).

11) If it were an American actress, it would be Florence Henderson.

12) Parents of kids who play soccer in American schools are overbearing and obnoxious. It’s because they are secretly upset their kids are too wormy to try out for football.

13) My alma mater, the University of Georgia, overcame all sorts of odds and won the College Baseball World Series. I realize that doesn’t have a thing to do with soccer, but I just thought I would mention it.

14) If Georgia has a soccer team, I am blissfully unaware of it.

15) Bo doesn’t know diddley about soccer.

16) I was in London once and watched the Super Bowl of British soccer match on television because there wasn’t anything else on. The two teams ran up and down the field for approximately three hours, but nobody could score. They decided to play another game two nights later. I watched that, too. I’d seen all the churches, museums and china shops I wanted to see by that time. They ran up and down the field again for an hour or two and then the ball hit a player in the head and went into the goal completely by accident, and the final score was 1-0. When the game was over two guys came on the screen and analyzed it for 45 minutes.

17) If soccer was a vegetable, it would be asparagus.

18) Hitler was probably a soccer fan.

19) Parents of American children who play soccer will react violently to No. 12 and write me a lot of nasty, threatening letters. Hey, it’s what they deserve for raising wimps.

20) If soccer were an American soft drink, it would be Diet Pepsi.

21) How ’bout them Dawgs.

Lewis Grizzard Wednesday: Does Tech’s ‘T’ Stand For Tacky?

Athens – This will end my crusade, at least until next September, to improve behavior at college football games.

After Georgia-Florida in Jacksonville, Florida players strutted in front of the Georgia fans at game’s end and rubbed in their victory by using obscene gestures.

After Georgia-Auburn, a member of the Georgia staff was hit in the head by a bottle thrown from the stands. So we come to Georgia-Georgia Tech here Saturday.

It was the Tech band that decided to show its collective hindparts.

At haltime, the Yellow Jacket musicians rolled out a Georgia Tech logo and covered the logo at midfield in Sanford Stadium that celebrates this, Georgia’s 100th year of football.

“The band,” said Tech drum major Dana Papp, “takes a lot of pride in our creativity.”

Creativity?

What creativity? All I saw was a group of juvenile horn blowers and drum beaters insulting the Georgia crowd.

It was like going to visit and neighbor’s house and deliberately spilling red wine on a white carpet.

The logo was painted on the stadium grass as a means of showing Georgia’s pride in its centennial season. Naturally, Georgia fans booed the Tech crowd.

“It made the people watch,” another member of the Tech band was quoted as saying. “Even if the response was negative, it was great.”

I thought people who make music in public did so to entertain. Whatever work went into the musical performance Saturday was completely wasted.

If those wusses had wanted to do something to make Georgia Tech look good in Sanford Stadium Saturday, they should have put on pads and gone out and stopped
Garrison Hearst. The Tech defense couldn’t, to the tune of a two-touchdown loss.

And speaking of Garrison Hearst, when he scored his third touchdown of the night, he struck the pose of the figure on the Heisman Trophy, given annually to college football’s most outstanding player.

I suppose he was trying to say, “I deserve the Heisman Trophy.”

I happen to agree, and I would like to see him win it. But I’d like to see him handle his acclaim as humbly and appreciatively as Georgia’s other Heisman winners, Frank Sinkwich and Herschel Walker.

And I happen to think Georgia coach Ray Goff would agree with me.

All this bragging, all this rubbing it in, all this show-boating, all this bottle throwing, comes from, I think, this “in your face” mentality in sports.

ESPN uses “in your face” to promote its sports coverage. “In your face” is just another way of saying, “Up yours.”

It breeds anger, and I don’t think anybody who sees it is impressed one bit.

Would the Tech band like to know what Georgia fans said to describe their little prank?

I heard “tacky” a lot, as well as “low class.”

Yeah, kids, you made quite an impression.

Lewis Grizzard Wednesday: Raise Those Chicken Fingers

Had it not been for the Braves winning the National League West race over the weekend, the news out of Athens Saturday night would have been even more startling.  Georgia beats Clemson in football. You believe that? The Braves winning the West was a miracle. Georgia beating Clemson also had to be divinely structured.

It couldn’t happen. But it did. I thank you, God. Ray Goff thanks you. Everybody whose allegiance is colored red and black thanks you. We never needed one any worse.

As the Clemson revelers headed up Field Street to Sanford Stadium an hour before the evening kickoff, you could sense the possibility of losing had not entered their minds.

A fat boy, wearing shorts and an absolutely filthy T-shirt and an orange hat, shouted to Georgia tailgaters, “Y’all about to get whooped and whooped bad.”

A few shouted retorts. I wondered aloud if fat boy could even spell “Clemson.”

“You can’t spell it, either, ” a companion said to me. “It’s not ‘Clemson.’ It’s ‘Clemmons.’”

I’d forgotten.  Clemmons College. That’s what we called ‘em before they started beating our brains out.

God, last year in Death Valley. The heat was nearly unbearable. People fainted. And I was stuck, as are all Georgia fans when they venture to Auburn-with-a-lake, deep in the end zone.

Didn’t matter. I didn’t want to see what was happening on the field, anyway. It was Clemmons 94 and us totally embarrassed.

You don’t want to be a Georgia fan losing to the Tigers at home.  Several years ago a friend was walking out of the Clemson stadium when an orange-clad held a chicken bone in front of him and said, “Come here, Dawg, and get your bone.”

My friend, known as Rocky afterwards, let the guy have one upside the head. How we got home alive, I’ll never know.

Last year they were actually laughing at us. A car sped past my party as we huddled together after the loss and the driver shouted, “Them Dawgs are a joke!”

I pulled out my .45 and shot the car full of holes. No, I didn’t. I just sank deeper in my sorrows.

So Saturday night was payback. A Tech fan had said to me earlier in the week, “It’s going to be a long ride home for y’all Saturday night.”

Turns out, it was Tech that took the long ride home. Tech is 2-3. Georgia is 4-1. You believe that?

I always tailgate with B.A. and Nancy. Chicken and Nancy’s marvelous deviled eggs.

At each home game this year, we’ve had chicken fingers. B.A. has gone into the chicken finger business in a place called Oscar’s on Baxter. He’s got chicken fingers, big burgers and biscuits from scratch.

“It’s the chicken fingers, ” he said to me after the Saturday night victory.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“We’re 4-0 at home. My chicken fingers are undefeated.”

And so they are.

We remained at our tailgating site and welcomed Sunday morning. The Clemmons fans had gone quietly into the night. I wanted to tell fat boy to wear a clean shirt next time.

Now Ole Miss. B.A. can’t make the trip to Oxford, but I’ll be there.

We’re trying to figure out how to fax chicken fingers.

30 years ago, this Lewis wrote this classic

30 years ago today exactly, Kevin Butler’s mammoth field goal kick upset Clemson.

We’re guilty of re-posting this column of Lewis Grizzard’s but it’s very, very fitting on a day like today.

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.


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