In 1965 UGA sophomore Lewis Grizzard was covering the Georgia vs Alabama game at Sanford Stadium for the Athens Daily News. He was at some undisclosed location mixing an adult beverage when Dawgs quarterback Kirby Moore passed 8 yards to Pat Hodgson, who tossed the ball to halfback Bob Taylor. Taylor ran for a touchdown that resulted in an 18-17 UGA upset victory.  

Lewis missed the “Flea Flicker” and vowed to never miss another vital play in his life. Thereafter he assigned adult beverage mixing and delivery duties to younger fraternity brothers or pledges.

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On October 2, 1976 I was a UGA sophomore not writing for anyone when Georgia played Alabama at Sanford Stadium. Lewis Grizzard was in Chicago editing the Chicago Sun-Times and dealing with a second wife who divorced him.

In Chicago, Lewis could get no info about Georgia games. He likely dealt with that and other Chicago frustrations by consuming many adult beverages.

In 1976, Erk Russell coined the phrase “Junkyard Dawgs.” At some point he told his defense: 

“If we score we might win. If they never score we can’t lose.”

That Oct. 2, the Junkyard Dawgs shut out No. 10 Alabama 21-0, and No. 6 UGA carried the day.

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Alabama legend Bear Bryant coached there from 1958 to 1982. At some point he and Lewis became friends. After games Bear told his teams:

Don’t Forget to Call Your Mama I Wish I Could Call Mine.

Lewis borrowed Bear’s line for a 1991 book about his beloved late mother.

One night in some year I have yet to confirm Lewis and Bear were at a small airport in bad weather. Neither liked to fly in small planes even in good weather. They agreed to go to a motel and fly in better weather the next day. Lewis intended to stick to beer so he could remember everything the next day. Bear sipped some brown adult beverage, but Lewis claimed he could not remember much the next day or what he sipped.

During that gathering the Bear offered Lewis his houndstooth fedora to wear while they mugged for a photo.


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Lewis played in a lot of golf tournaments and vacationed often on the Redneck Riviera Florida Panhandle. He left us in 1994 but would have loved this story.

In 2003 a certain Bama coach was notified at a Redneck Riviera golf tournament that two “entertainers” from the not so gentlemanly Pensacola gentlemen’s club Arety’s Angels had charged his hotel tab $1,000 for everything on the room service menu. 

Bama relieved that coach of his duties before he ever coached a game. 

Roll Tide!

Lewis might have advised:

“Bama’s coach could have saved a lot of money by doing what I did. Give all your ‘entertainers’ Waffle House gift certificates.”

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Too many close Georgia vs. Bama games in recent years have caused me near cardiac arrest.

On Dec. 1, 2012, I took my age 9 son Ben camping at Grayton Beach State Park, near our  home. With Ben and I was his Panama City Beach buddy, who I will call “Joey.” 

Joey’s Dad was a Panama City Cop and a Notre Dame fan. He said his wife cared little about football.

Dec. 1 was the SEC Championship Game between Georgia and Alabama, and I knew I needed a camping distraction. While bonfiring and other camping stuff with the boys I listened to the game on the radio. Before the 4th quarter I said:

“Guys, let’s get in the car. We’re going to our house for about a half hour. There’s popcorn there, and you’ve drained almost all of our Coca-Cola.”

That 32-28 Georgia loss almost killed me. The three of us returned to camp, where I broke out an adult beverage or two. Aaron Murray said he could not sleep that night, and I did not sleep well, either. 

Early Sunday morning Joey’s mom called my cell phone to announce: 

“Roll Tide!!!”

Joey’s Dad intentionally did not tell me his wife was a Bama fan. She had all of her teeth, so how was I to know?

Next up was to bury Ben and Joey up to their necks in Grayton Beach sugary white sand. When Joey asked why I poured molasses on his head and not Ben’s, I replied:

“It’s fire ant season. Ben is so sweet I don’t need to bait him. Ask your sweet Mama about the molasses.”

Do not let facts get in the way of a good story.

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I cannot bring myself to write or talk about the near cardiac arrests in Georgia vs. Alabama games since 2012. After 2018, I told myself that if Georgia never wins another national championship in my lifetime, I will simply enjoy games and seasons for what they are. Life is too short to tie one’s self worth to sporting events.

I lied to myself.

Go You Hairy Dawgs!!! Thrash Bama!!!