Three Wise Men
By: Jeff Doke
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
During the most magical time of the year, we all love the traditions that have been handed down from generation to generation.
While we all feel a lift in our spirits by surrounding ourselves with our friends & family that also embrace the season, the memories of those who have passed on makes us reminisce about them and wonder how they would feel about this season if they were still with us.
For those of us who have been raised right, we specifically think about the three wise men. Of course, I’m talking about UGA football season, and the three wise men are Lewis, Larry, and Jack.
For them to have never taken the field, no other triumvirate makes me think of Georgia Football more than Lewis Grizzard, Larry Munson, and Jack Davis.
To me, they are just as important to Georgia lore as Vince & Herschel, and their skills in their chosen fields have inspired and influenced me tremendously in three of my favorite hobbies over the years.
Lewis Grizzard was one of the first newspaper columnists I ever followed. He talked about things that were relevant to me (growing up in rural Georgia, southern cooking, the pains of being a Dawg fan) and things that would one day become relevant (politics, divorce, the pains of being a Dawg fan).
His columns in the AJC and his best-selling novels added so much to the southern lexicon that many of his quips have become standards. While he ruffled more than a few feathers in his tragically brief career, his writing style was instantly recognizable and it was more often than not as comfortable as a pair of grey sweatpants & a threadbare 2002 SEC Championship t-shirt.
Passing away in 1994, Lewis thankfully only had to suffer through 13 seasons of the UGA Championship drought and completely avoided the Jim Donnan years. If we all could have been so lucky…
If you search for Grizzard quotes about Georgia football, one of the first you will find mentions another of my three wise men; “listening to Larry Munson was better than being there.”
For a lot of us South Georgia Dawgs, Larry was the only way we could be there. A Saturday trip to Athens wasn’t as relatively easy as it was for our North Georgia brethren, and believe it or not, back in those days it wasn’t guaranteed that the game would be on TV.
Even when it was, it didn’t feel right if you listened to the network commentator. They didn’t have the established relationship with the team the way that Larry did, so it became a longstanding tradition to turn down the TV and turn up the radio. Because of that, Larry Munson *was* Georgia football for generations. You could tell from his voice in those legendary calls that Larry loved Georgia football as much as we did. You could feel the anxiety, the tension, the elation in every game. He had ownership of the Dawgs. He had buy-in, just as much as every fan, be they students, graduates, or “tailgate alumni” like myself.
Then there’s Jack Davis. I was a MAD Magazine fan before I realized I was a Dawg fan, so I got a steady diet of Jack Davis art before I could barely say “What, Me Worry?” or “Hunker Down.”
Growing up in Glynn County, I didn’t get the Game Day Saturday editions of the Athens Banner-Herald with a Jack cartoon on the front page.
What I did get (as did most of the rest of the state) was the 1980 commemorative Coca-Cola bottle, and I’m lucky enough to have mine signed by the man himself. Much like Larry & Lewis, you could tell Jack loved UGA just as much as we did with every sepia-toned stroke of his brush that brought Hairy Dawg to life long before he roamed the sidelines between the hedges.