Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." *

As I told you, the first football game I ever saw I played in. It was when I started high school. I had attended country school and my dad was not interested in sports so we never went to town to see a game. My coach was a young man just out of the marines and he was tough. So you can see, all things were new to me. The first thing was learning what room to be at for the different classes I had. I came from a one room school.

I will try to share some things that happened during football at MHS. I had never seen an actual football uniform with pads so that was all new to me and when they told me I needed to buy a jockstrap I said 'huh?'!! I ordered my shoes through the school and I had had my physical so I was ready to start a new adventure in my life.

Our practice field was a half mile from the school so we had to run to practice. The upper classmen made it tough on us freshman. They used us for tackling practice and the coach ran the practice like a marine boot camp. We had to carry the equipment back and forth. There was no water at the field. If we got thirsty one of the players lived on the way. They had a yard hydrant so on the way back to the locker room that was the water hole.

My first year we had two new coaches and they didn't like the way the schedule was made. The schedule had small schools to play on non league games so they changed the schedule to have us play larger schools. Coach said by playing larger schools it would toughen us up and make us work harder. Some of the schools that he picked were Salina, Topeka, Hays and Wamego. These schools were 3 to 5 time larger than us. Some of the people in town thought he was crazy but it paid off a couple years later.

We had no school bus until I was a junior so business men in town would take us to the games. One time we took a cattle truck, we had straw bales to sit on. There would be a caravan of cars. We had 45 or 50 out for football. The Sheriff would take his car and one time when we were playing Hays where they had stop lights, we got to the stop light and it was red. He motioned for the cars following him to follow him. He turned on the lights and siren and took us all through the red light. If that would happen today they would kick him out of office just for using the car let along using the lights and siren.

There was a gangster that lived at the state lake. He was known as Whitey. Everyone knew he was a gangster but he liked football. He played on the town team and he was a good player. The sheriff also played on the town team so Whitey started taking a car load of players to the games. He also let the school use his big convertible for the queen to ride in in the homecoming parade. He also supported sports in other ways. He would be in our local fountain and if some football player would come in he would buy them a soft drink or ice cream. Whitey got killed in Nebraska. They were hijacking a truck load of furs and got in a shoot out with the law. There was also a woman and another guy with him. They were killed or wounded.

After our games, if Kansas University had a game at home, three or four men would take anyone that wanted to go to the KU game. They would have passes for us and put us up in a hotel. We would get to meet and talk with the coaches and players. Dr. Young was a K U fan. He asked me many times to go with him to the games. I went as often as I could. He would stop in Topeka for supper after the game. He liked Chinese food and there was a good Chinese restaurant there. It was my first time to eat Chinese food. It was with him also that I first had filet mignon and cordon bleu, things that were not on our country menu. Dr. Young was my dentist. He was a good man and he liked sports. He had two sons. One was born with cerebral palsy, or something like that. His other son was in high school and he was a great athlete. One summer he and some other guys were swimming at the state lake. They were outside the boundaries of the swimming area trying to swim across the lake and he got a cramp and drowned. This was hard on Doc so it helped him to have some of the players go with him to the games where he could treat them to different things.

We had one colored kid on the team. After the away games we would stop at some restaurant to get something to eat. If we stopped at a restaurant that would not serve him we would not eat there. It was hard to find a place that would serve him so we would stop at a hamburger joint and order hamburgers to go. We would sometimes stop at a small park and eat all together or eat on the way home.

In the fall of 1949 we won our league. There were only 13 points scored against us. That was Marysville and they are a bigger school. The statistics show we scored 210 to 13 in league play. For the season we scored 289 to 63. We lost one game and that was to Hays, a much bigger team. The score was 13 to 7. We had two T. D.'s called back. But what we thought was a bad call was this, we had the ball, it was fourth down and goal to go and they called it short, but there were some reporters taking pictures on the goal line and they sent us a picture that showed we made it by a good foot.

In the fall of 1948 I was a sophomore and the only one from the freshman and sophomore class to earn a letter in varsity football. I played tackle position, Vernon White was a line backer on my side. We were the only two that played all the games with out having a substitute. They didn't run a platoon system so that meant we played offense and defense both. We played the single wing offense.

I was picked to be captain for the team and king at the home coming game. We played Chapman that night and they were called the Greenie's. They had just bought new uniforms so they ran around the field to show everyone their new uniforms and announce that they had changed their name to the Fighting Irish. We kicked the ball to them, they fumbled it, and we ran in for a T.D. 20 seconds on the clock and the score was 7 to 0. We kicked to them again and they passed two times with out catching it. They passed on third down and we intercepted it for another T.D. With the clock showing 1:15 off the clock the score was 14 to 0. We kicked off again. They ran one play and on the second play they fumbled and we ran it in for a T.D. With a little over two minuets in to the game the score was 21 to 0. The final score was 39 to 0.

I had a good friend that waited to go out for football until his senior year. The coach put him in at the end of a game. They were kicking to us and the ball went right in his hands, what luck!! I always wanted to have the opportunity to catch a kickoff and run with it.

In 1949 we were challenged by a high ranking team in the state to play them on Thanksgiving day. They said they would feed us a Thanksgiving dinner if we would come and play them because they thought they were a better team than us. They had to get permission from the state because you were only allowed to play so many quarters a season. There were no play off games then, so we accepted their challenge. We played a rough game but we won by 20 to 13 and ate their turkey. It was the first M.H.S. football game to be broadcast on the radio.

I always had butterflies before each game but after the first play they were gone. That reminds me of the times that I go into prison or meet some one on the street to share the Lord with. After beginning to share with the first inmate, or neighbor, or family member there is peace. They're just waiting for you to share the Good News with them--you owe it to them.
*Scripture verse above---I Tim. 4:8 NIV

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Jenny said...

We love hearing your stories, seeing your pictures, and learning more about you.

Jenny said...

Sounds like you had a good time in school. I didn't not once hear I had to walk both ways up hill. I love you guys.