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Three score and ten or more

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Away Games in Football

I have got to be careful lest posting almost every day become a habit and become expected, but I have been editing a long ago written memoir, and keep finding bits that (if my memory is worth a darn) that I haven't posted before, so I have been doing a bit of copy and paste.

My junior year in high school was both better and more memorable than my sophomore one. It started off well when, right at the beginning of the year I was moved up to varsity on the football team (though I did get a couple of JV games in as well). I just had to really admire our coach, Chase Anderson. He pushed us, trained us, used a remarkable quick T formation plan, and had every team scouted to a fair thee well. I wasn't first string, but I got into a lot of games and got to travel with the team for some. Opening game was with Butte High School in Butte, Montana. I have very limited memory of most of the trip. The trip to Butte seemed eternal. We started early in the morning and arrived late at night. When we got out on the field, the stands were big and it had lights for night games (ours didn't)but the field was awful. It was like playing on a sand and gravel parking lot with patches of grass. Fortunately or unfortunately my experience on the field was mostly limited to warm-ups, and a couple of plays when there was a minor injury, but, during the game we had a lot of superficial injuries and everyone complained about the field. I am pretty sure we won, but can't remember clearly. What I remember best about the trip was that I found a bunch of guys who were pinochle players, and, playing for a penny a point and a dime a set I (actually my partner and I, though I don't clearly remember who my partner was) won, what was at the time, a lot of money during the bus trip. My mother would have had a cow if she had known.

She would have been particularly shocked at the manner in which they were won. We were sitting in the back of the Greyhound bus. My partner was sitting next to the window row in the back seat, one opponent sat next to him. I was sitting on a bag of shoulder pads or something in the aisle. I can't remember exactly where the other opponent sat, somewhere on the next to last row of seats facing his partner. We had played two or three hands before I noticed that in the curved chromium molding around the back of the seats, I could see, reflected, my partner's hand, and one of my opponents. Now I don't know how many of my readers play pinochle and realize just how beneficial it is to see your partner's hand, let alone to see one of your opponents, but suffice it to say that, in a money game, this is money in the bank. On the trip to Butte, my partner and I (though I was careful to lose enough hands to avoid suspicion) won over forty dollars (which we split, and squandered during the overnight portion of the trip). We were pressured to continue the game on the way home, but I think I developed a stomach ailment or something to avoid the chance that the seating arrangements might be modified, creating an embarrassing or even dangerous situation. I will have to say that, considering that I got sent into the game for about two plays, a few bucks can ease the hurt pride for a second stringer.


At 9:43 PM, Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

You have been posting too prolifically for me to comment on each post but I had to say something here - I'm just shocked. ;)


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