Friday, September 12, 2008

Greatest headline in the history of sports journalism . . .

On the eve of the UGA/South Carolina game 41 years ago, I was hanging out with three of my fraternity brothers (the Hound, Tex, and Bake), drinking a few cold PBRs at the old Callaway Gardens Apartment on the Atlanta Highway. We were discussing the upcoming game against the Gamecocks and lamenting the fact that we were going in with several key players out with injuries, including our starting DE, Billy Payne and his roommate, MLB, Happy Dicks.

About 10:00, another fraternity brother, Lewis, came in after he got off work. Our buddy was inactive at the time because he had gotten married over the summer to his high school sweetheart, Nancy. In addition to taking a full load at the university, he was working two jobs to help pay for (as he called it) "this expensive habit". A talented young man, he was writing two columns daily - one in the morning for the Athens Banner Herald and one in the afternoon for the Athens Daily News.

Lewis walked in, went straight to the refrigerator, got a beer, plopped down in a chair, pushed his glasses back up his nose and announced, "Gentlemen, with any luck at all, tomorrow morning you'll witness journalistic history. I have submitted my column and if it gets by my editor - and there's a good chance of that happening, since he "took drunk" earlier this evening - you'll enjoy the greatest headline in the history of sports journalism."

He refused to tell us what it was, and to be honest with you, we all forgot about it. As Lewis went home to his lovely, young bride, the four of us went back over to the fraternity house to get a head start on the weekend.

The next morning, as usual, I went straight for the Sports Section. As I pulled it out, I could do nothing but smile, because our buddy had pulled it off. To this day, Vince Dooley calls it his most memorable column ever - all because of the headline, which read:

DOGS TO PLAY COCKS WITH DICKS OUT

There's no doubt about it, it was "the greatest headline in the history of sports journalism".

'fish

33 comments:

Mackalicious said...

Geez Fish are you 60?!?

'fish said...

Nope . . .

62 :>)


'fish

Bear said...

Heard the story a hundred times and never gets old. Thanks for sharing that with us again, always makes me laugh. Not to question the knowlegdeable readers of C&C, but I hope they get who you're talking about.

Anonymous said...

you were a friend of Lewis Grizzard??? Holy Shit!

I knew the title of the blog was an homage to his dogs (Catfish & Cornbread), but didn't know you guys knew him.

Great story - never gets old.

duvydawg said...

I am embarrassed to admit it, but being a huge UGA fan, I had never heard that story before. I guess it sounds framiliar...but nope, I don't think I had heard it before. Thanks fish for the story. Hillarious.

It's stories like that, JJ's assessment of the schedule, Bop's UGA insight and Schlitz' predictions that makes this blog the single best one on the World Wide Web!

'fish said...

Lewis and I were friends from the day we met at Reed Hall back in the fall of '64 until he left us far too soon back in 1994.

I was in his first two weddings and missed the 3rd because of trade show I couldn't get out of . . . Ms. 'fish made it, however, and at it's conclusion he sidled up to her at the reception and said, "You know, Tena, me and you the only one's that have been to all three of these sumbitches."

After he returned from his stint in Chicago, we had season tickets together during the glory years going to many of the away games - every year in Jacksonville (at our beach house) and New Orleans.

My sons, who several/most of you know, grew up with the eccentric and loveable "Uncle Lew", and didn't know that he was anything other that the funniest guy they'd ever seen that kept everybody laughing.

We all miss him, but none more that I.

Thanks for letting me share.

'fish

Anonymous said...

Fish,

How are his last wife and step-daughter doing?

JJ said...

Quality, 'Fish. Quality.

M said...

Wow.

I agree Duvy, this page is certainly worthy of the best football team in the country.

Clay Pit Crew said...

This reminds me of the 1980 Gamecock-Southern Cal game when the student body posted a banner on the upper deck that read, "No Trojan can cover our Cocks!"

Worm said...

Great story.

duvydawg said...

I gotta hand it to the gentlemen at the University of South Carolina back in the day when they came up with their mascot. They must have had a sense of humor giving their beloved team the nickname Gamecocks. There are just so many double entendre (SP?)that you can come up with. It has lead to some of the funniest headlines (obviously from this post) and others that continuously keep all of us with our minds in the bathroom stall in stiches. That being said, I still hate em.

M said...

Here's a good one from last year. The link is kinda long but copy and paste it into your browser-it's worth it.

http://media.www.redandblack.com/media/storage/paper871/news/2007/09/11/News/cock-Grabbed.On.Street.Corner.Prior.To.Game-2959993.shtml

That's a fine journalism school we got. Still have that headline on my fridge.

Sports Dawg said...

Super! Thanks!

Beak said...

lots of big cock fans in columbia

Anonymous said...

When I was in school in the late '70's, early '80's, there was a guy at the Athens paper (can't recall his name now) who had some great ones that never made it press.

To wit:

USC vs. South Carolina - USC wins ... "Trojans Cover Cocks;" South Carolina wins ... "Cocks Burst Trojans"

Best never printed ...

Remember Duane (sp?) Puckett from Cedartown (I think)? Huge kid ... weighed over 300 lbs. He quit and went home after two two-a-days. Headline not printed ...

"Puckett Says 'F*uck It'"

Woof!

Richard said...

What about the Steverino's sign in the late 80's when we played Oregon State? It read, "Go Dogs, Lick the Beavers"

Bop said...

Just wanna say...Thanks for some great responses to this post by 'fish. Some good stories.

dedra grizzard said...

I loved reading that story again and never tired of hearing Lewis tell it when he was alive! For what it is worth the last Mrs. Grizzard and my daughter are doing great. I am working with a publisher trying to get Lewis's books back out there on the market. We are starting with "They Tore Out My Heart and Stomped That Sucker Flat" teaming with the American Heart Assoc.........

I can see Lewis sitting on that couch smilin.....just knowing he had slid a fast one past the boss! And, yes, waiting on the drama to follow. Thanks for remembering and writing about him.....would love to hear all your Lewis stories. D

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JCF said...

That's actually a variation of a story someone told us at Gigi's on Baxter one night in the '60s. We used to go out there after we finished at the Daily News -- me, Lew, Wade Saye, maybe Gerald Rutberg. The story, which seems to have grown in the refrigerator, was that Steve Teasley had written a headline for the Banner-Herald about an Athens High player named Peters who was hurt. The head said "Athens High to Play Without Peters." Somebody in composing, shocked, supposedly changed it to "Athens High to Play With Peters Out." I suspect the Happy Dicks part is apocryphal, since nobody seems to be able to find a copy. Maybe not, but the yarn above is true. I was there. John Futch, Long Beach, California

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lalori said...

I heard this story as being a headline in the Greenville Times -
"Dogs lick Cocks without Dicks"
(had a friend on the Greenville paper staff who swore it was for real....)

Dedra said...

Yes, that is a "the greatest headline ever written" says many of Lewis's fans! Lewis' boss had had one too many cocktails when Lewis ran it by him and paid dearly for it the next day.........but Lewis always said it was completely worth it. Wish he was here to see it is still traveling to fans and readers today!!!!!!!!!!!

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Anonymous said...

Great headline and thank you for sharing the funny story - it never gets old! A reader above mentioned the Steverino's sign that read, "Go Dogs, Lick the Beavers". I was attending UGA at that time and remember it, but my favorite was before the Clemson game. Everyone remembers Butler's game winning FG, but before the game someone was passing out stickers that read "Go Dawgs, whip the Pussies". People couldn't get enough of them!

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triathlon gear said...

LOL, I would like to see that headline in a sports page! Would it make it out of the printing press though?

Tim MacGougan said...

I was good friends in college with one of Happy Dicks' sons. I knew about this headline because, if memory serves, it's framed in Happy's house. (It's also possible his son just told me the story but I'm about 90% sure I've seen it.)

Anonymous said...

Those boys over in Columbia are pretty crafty with their phrases. A friend of mine, Psychology PhD at Carolina, was chastised for wanting to sell candy at the games. He had cherry Gamecock heads put on a stick and was going to sell them as "Cock Suckers." Didn't fly. Lewis saved my fanny at Georgia and I've loved him from the day I met him until the day he left for Glory. God Bless 'em. He was great.

_mike s_ said...

Being a gamecock, I have wanted to play Southern cal for the longest and make a sign that says "your trojans cant hold our cocks!"

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