Rooster tales: ‘Are ya Ready For Some (old-style) Football???

By on August 15, 2011 with 2 Comments

Rooster Tales by Mert CarlsonWhile I’m not sure how my thoughts about the ‘stacking street cups’ video found its way under the response to ‘early school news’, I guess it still remains a question for some science students and therefore appropriate.

Each and every student is dearly appreciated and will be given the best chance to become a continuing-learner throughout school and life.  In speaking for many of the area ‘old timers’, we are wishing the football team has a great season and maybe gets back to a little ‘ol’ school’ type play.
Those of you that can’t remember that far back, or don’t think the game was invented until 1995, here are a few memories of how life in the trenches, really were entrenched in a physical style of play that you don’t see too often anymore.

The helmets weren’t foam or air padded since neither concept was available to us.  A ‘cage’ on a lineman’s helmet was a single bar around the face.  We never had a mouth-guard, padded chin strap, nor pads for the hands, wrist, forearm, elbow or bicep.  Ice, tape, and elastic wraps were costly and too few were ever available.  We literally played on a 2-bit budget, but we played like a 2 million dollar team, being the first undefeated Wausa football team, and won an impressive 15 games in a row before a 3 point loss cut that run.

We had guys that averaged a ‘stretcher case per game’ and there were times while calling plays in the huddle, I had to stop and wait for the blood and mucus to stop being spit out, so I could get the signals called and heard by each player.  Yes, pain was there, but you never complained since nobody would listen to you anyway.

We never celebrated before the game or during; video and cameras were not there to record a single play, and individual statistics were reduced to ‘what grade are you in this year?’  We never had weight rooms but some players improvised with a crowbar being fixed into two buckets of concrete (played for Cornhuskers), and most others being quite mobile on their single speed, balloon tired bicycles (one winning the state 100/220 dashes).  While others just worked all day, either on construction jobs or in the Ag fields, the advent of computers and video games would have scared us like, ‘The Martians are coming’!

You learn from studying History, and also learn to avoid what didn’t work.  If you interviewed any one of the players that competed back then, they would all agree that they wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.  You played for the team and played to win, always; it hurt quite deeply if we lost.

We all hope that the current team can show us this, the dedication, developing the basics and fundamentals to the finest level, while leaving the personal-celebrations for post-game activities.  The ‘old timers’ are watching you, wishing for those things about the game that we remember, will once again surface on the gridiron.  We don’t care, or can’t relate to all the personal adornments that brings unnecessary attention to a player.  You are playing for the team and the uniform should suffice; anything else generates bad vibes from your teammates, and it is quite obvious here that ‘show’  for you is more important than the ‘game’!

And yes, the success of our individual players went well beyond our outfield gridiron at Gladstone (5 players on that team played a sport in college), most of it tied directly into the competitive, sacrificing-preparations we made for our team, school and coaches.   Play hard and skilled and you will reap the same benefits as well.  Best of Luck, ya sure!!

Category: Rooster Tales

Comments (2)

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  1. n. edmunds says:

    Well done Mert. You have come a long way from the 60’s.

  2. Alex's host parents says:

    This is truly an honor and great treat to hear from the WHS Principal, circa, 1961-62. Thanks for the kudos and jump-starting the ol’ memory bank. I hope that others from our era will take the time to reconnect with you and share some tales from those hallowed hallways and sports playing days.

    I have provided your email address for those wanting to reconnect. Again, ‘Thanks’ for your contributions to my life and taking some time to read the RoosterTales. M.C.

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