Sunday, July 17, 2011

Remembering Sports Journalism's greatest headline

Yesterday there was some discussion about Happy Dicks, LB at UGA during the 1960s. Well, that naturally reminded me of this little Lewis Grizzard story. Best headline to hit driveways and newstands in the history of printed word. The story goes something like this (h/t Catfish and Cornbread):

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:



Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh that story never gets old. Still giggling. And an aside, i really miss Catfish and Cornbread - one of the better Dawgs blogs for certain.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. Couldn't help but bring it up yesterday what with a lead headline about Chizik's bigger johnson. Try as we may, none of us approach Lewis's humor or writing ability.

Happy's Mom and Dad shared such humor and I think the very most of people like that.

Dislike using their name, but ESPN's advertising vignettes bested them all with the black athlete in their offices laughing like crazy and then looking at the white guy saying, "Really!? Your name is really Tres Wingo?" and then regaling with laughter again. The reverse humor gives food for thought when we think athletes's names are off-the-page.

AthensHomerDawg said...