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Friday, February 1, 2013

That Championship Season

My old friend Mike Green sent me some old Weippe high school pictures that he found along with a newspaper clipping from one of our football games.  They brought back some old memories..., yeah..., I do mean OLD.  I’m sure he won’t mind if I share my email response to him with all of you.

Thanks for the pictures Mike..., and the newspaper clipping.  Julie called me at the job to tell me about them.  I was somewhat surprised.  She won’t even open a Christmas card that has both our names on it.  Not so with your letter.  Ripped open no less.  Maybe she thought you had sent some new juggling toys or something.  She still has the balls you sent several years back, hidden away from me so I can’t practice.  She says she is going to show you a thing or two next time she sees you.  Yeah.., she remarked on your penmanship…, and yet again, asked me why such a good looking guy like you isn’t married..., but she didn’t ask me about the touchdown mentioned in the clipping.  I guess she was just being considerate of my modesty and reluctance to talk about my athletic feats of accomplishment and my natural tendency to shy away from self-promotion in that regard.  I was honest with Julie.  I told her that I didn't remember THAT touchdown.  She may have thought that it was because I scored so many that a mere 5 yard scamper so paled in comparison to the many more memorable long distance scores.  But the rest of the story..., as Paul Harvey used to say..., is that I don't remember ever scoring a TD.  I threw for a few at Timberline my senior year..., but don't recall any, in any fashion, at Weippe.

I do remember getting an out loud laugh from you in the huddle when I called my first play in a real game in high school football.  It was late in the game and we were well ahead in the score so the coach gave some of the bench warmers like me a chance to play.  I am glad he left the starters like you in to block though.  As I was heading onto the field to replace one of my best friends, Rod Ball, he said to me, “What are you going to call?”  I said I was going to call a hand off to the fullback up the middle.  He retorted, “Bullshit…, run it yourself!” 

I wasn’t sure if it was a directive or a request…, but you don’t insult a friend by not following either one.  So when I got to the huddle, I called, “Single Wing, Formation Left, 11-Sweep on first ‘Go’…, and I’m not a very good runner, so you guys are going to have to block good.”  I don’t know if your laugh took the tension off our team…, or lulled the opponents into thinking that the scrawny kid with the clean uniform that just entered the game was nothing but a joke?  But a big hole opened up around the left end and suddenly I was in the open field…, with my chin strap swinging wildly by just one snap.  I had forgotten to snap it in place.  I didn’t have much need, or practice, doing that during the games.  I remember thinking, “Oh man…, I’m going to get a penalty for this.”

Well…, I didn’t get a penalty for it.  Maybe the officials were just being kind to me.  Coach Wessels was being kind to me too…, by letting me play…, and then by putting my name in the paper and giving me a very generous estimate of the yardage gained on that carry.  For a few over 40 years now, that newspaper clipping has been the only Weippe football clipping with my name in my scrap book.  I have the State Champs clipping…, but just one with my name associated with it.  That is…, until you sent me one that says I scored a touchdown…, and I can’t remember it.  How many years did I say it’s been?

Well..., I may have forgotten it.  But I assure you..., Julie never will.

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