With the Father’s Day weekend upon us, I thought I’d wind up the week opening up the forum for Bulldog-related memories of our fathers and I’ll start it off with a couple of my own.
The first concerns one of the greatest UGA victories ever, the Oct. 31,1942, battle between Wally Butts’ Bulldogs, who had an 11-game winning streak going, and Alabama, who’d won eight in a row. It was one of those “neutral” site games at Grant Field in Atlanta and the Crimson Tide led 10-0 with 10 minutes remaining, but the Dogs, featuring Frankie Sinkwich and Charley Trippi, came from behind to win 21-10, with Sinkwich throwing two TD passes and Andy Dudish intercepting a fumble in midair and running it back for another.
Georgia went on to win the Rose Bowl and a consensus national championship. After he retired many years later, Butts picked that game against Alabama as the greatest comeback by one of his teams and his greatest single day in football.
And my father was on the Georgia sideline.
Dad, who shortly would be going into the Army, had traveled to Atlanta with a friend for the game, but there was just one problem: They didn’t have tickets. They hung around outside the stadium, though, and one of the UGA coaches took pity on them and gave them sideline passes. “We’ll call you high school prospects,” he said. So for one game, at least, my father was a UGA “recruit”!
Another football memory of my father also involves a great game against Alabama, this one in 1976 in Athens. Dad didn’t have a ticket but didn’t think that would be a problem. He’d always had a knack for getting into games. I remember in one of Dooley’s first seasons when an Athens cop who knew Dad was working the main gate and let us through without any tickets. After quite a few seasons of escorting some of his customers at C&S Bank to games using bank tickets, Dad had decided to strike out on his own again in 1976. But he wasn’t able to score a ticket for the Bama game and ended up watching it from the bridge (you could still do that in those days) with “the drunks and the hippies,” as he put it.
Dad got season tickets of his own the next year.
He doesn’t go to games any more at age 86, but he still watches them on TV, wears his Georgia cap and has a UGA football calendar on the wall of his bedroom.
Happy Father’s Day, Pop!