Lewis Grizzard Games to honor former local amateur athlete, sports editor
From Special Reports
Enthusiasts of sports, journalists, and local celebrities are asked to team up in the new Lewis Grizzard Games 2023 to honor the talented amateur athlete and sports editor from Coweta County who became best known for his pointed opinions, humor, and writing.
To engage many age groups with the author, the Moreland Cultural Arts Alliance, Inc. (MCAA) ,which operates the museum dedicated to Grizzard, inaugurates this new event. The Lewis Grizzard Games 2023 offers fans and average amateur athletes this series of sporting games and competitions, just like Lewis would have played.
As a boy, Lewis relished any game played with a ball. In his youth at high school, he lettered in baseball and basketball at Newnan High School. Organized sports or just pick-up games with his buddies, Lewis never lost his passion for sports. As an adult he was an avid golfer and tennis player. As a journalist, Lewis became the youngest executive sports editor at the Atlanta newspapers at the age of 23.
In partnership with the Coweta County Parks and Recreation Department and the Coweta County Sports Hall of Fame, MCAA hosts this just for summer fun series over a three-day period – June 22-23-24. The event will begin on Thursday, June 22 at Sprayberry’s BBQ, then conduct the Youth Games on Friday, June 23 and finally, the Celebrity and Adult Games are set for Saturday, June 24. All games will be played at the Temple Avenue Recreation Complex in Newnan. Admission is free.
Below is the schedule for each day of the Grizzard Games 2023.
Thursday, June 22
The Games will Kick Off with a celebration at Sprayberry’s BBQ, 229 Jackson Street in Newnan, at 4 p.m. The celebration will give visitors a chance to hear from some of Lewis’ friends about his childhood and love of all ball games, enjoy music, and enter drawings for prizes.
For those who enjoy nostalgia, they can compete in a “Best Dressed 1950s-60s” costume contest. Three winners will receive a variety of prizes from local businesses. Diners can purchase delectables from Lewis’ favorite BBQ restaurant, Sprayberry’s BBQ which according to Lewis is “simply the best barbeque joint on earth.”
Friday, June 23
The Youth Games will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Temple Avenue Recreation Complex of the Coweta County Parks and Recreation Department. It is located at 39 Hospital Road. Young ballplayers, ages 10-15, will compete in softball and basketball games and various competitions. No skill level required. These games are just for fun. The games are free. All players must register to play by visiting morelandadventure.com/events. Players under 15 must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older. Those who register and play will be entered in drawings for prizes. The Grand Prize is a $250 Gift Card from Academy Sports.
Saturday, June 24
The Celebrity Finale and the Adult Games will cap off the series of competitions from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Temple Avenue Recreation Complex of the Coweta County Parks and Recreation Department. It is located at 39 Hospital Road. Sports journalists, writers, and local celebrities will play a finale exhibition softball game. Adults who want to play ball will compete in softball and basketball competitions during the day. All activities are free. All must register to play by visiting morelandadventure.com/events.
Those who register and play will be entered in drawings for prizes. The Grand Prize for the Adult Games is a $250 VISA Gift Card for summer fun.
Visitors and players will find food for purchase and plenty of fun and music at both the Youth and Adult Games. Celebrating area athletes, the Coweta County Sports Hall of Fame will have a display on site honoring some of the exceptional athletes from the county.
The Lewis Grizzard Games 2023 is sponsored by the Moreland Cultural Arts Alliance, which is the non-profit organization operating the museum devoted to the native author, the Moreland Hometown Heritage Museum: A Tribute to Lewis Grizzard. It is located at 7 Main Street in Moreland. The museum will open at 1-3 p.m. during the Games for visitors to see new personal items and sporting equipment on display from the author-athlete’s personal belongings. Visitors are welcome to by weekly, 10 a.m.- 3 p.m., Thursday-Saturday and by appointment.
About Lewis Grizzard
Born October 20, 1946, Lewis M. Grizzard, Jr., moved to Moreland at the young age of seven with his mother after his parents divorced; he was born at Fort Benning.
Lewis attended Moreland Elementary School where his mother taught. From a young age, Lewis aspired to become a sports journalist. He was an avid athlete and admirer of every sport. Like his Army vet father, Lewis excelled in basketball and baseball, lettering in both at Newnan High School. Lewis attended the University of Georgia on an academic scholarship and began his journalism career as a sportswriter; he earned the desk of sports editor at the Atlanta Journal at the age of 23 , the paper’s youngest sports editor.
Grizzard always maintained his love of athletics as a player, commentator, and even sponsor. He continued playing sports as an adult, mastering tennis and his beloved golf. Later in life Grizzard organized and sponsored tournaments. Most remarkably, Grizzard continued playing sports throughout his life with a serious congenital heart condition which resulted in many surgeries; he died after heart surgery at the age of 47 on March 20, 1994.
Best known for his humor and distinctive narratives based on his outspoken and unique point of view, Grizzard wrote a regular newspaper column syndicated in 400 newspapers and published 21 books –18 of which were New York Times Bestsellers. Lewis entertained audiences with his stand-up comedy and his sitcom performance in “Designing Women” as well as writing and performing original music.