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The Boys of Fall

Oct 04, 2014 02:54PM ● Published by Ron Wilkie

“Well, it's turn and face the Stars and Stripes, it's fighting back them butterflies
It's calling in the air, "Alrighty, yes sir, we want the ball"
And it's knockin' heads and talkin' trash, it's slinging mud and dirt and grass
It's I got your number, I got your back when your back's against the wall

You mess with one man, you got us all
The boys of fall”  – Kenny Chesney

This song ran through my head around 10:00 am on Saturday morning as I drove south on McKinley Street. Why? There were little league football games being played in a 38 degree misty rain. All that could be seen from my angle were 3 to 4 foot tall kids in full pads and helmets. It took me back to a simpler time.

Some of my favorite memories of football were on rainy days. The best memories were rainy backyard games with the kids in my neighborhood. There was something special about getting wet and muddy from head to toes that is difficult to describe. Look at how popular the Tough Mudder events have become and it is not difficult to see why we loved kicking up mud while playing football in the back yard.

Perhaps rootin’ around in the mud was so fun because it took our mind off of the silly rules of unorganized games. You know like what is out of bounds and where is the goal line and did you count too fast; one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, rush the QB!

We were more interested in what we looked like after the tackle and whose mom was going to be angrier. Good times, great memories.

The high school football season is winding to a close, and while the Beaver Dam high schools will be sitting out the playoffs this season, many area schools will be playing after this weekend. Road trips full of cheering families and fans, and young men making life long memories that they will share with each other and their children in years to come.

When dad provided my first car after turning 16 the option was clear. Work to use the new to me car on a regular basis, or play sports and have limited resources for gasoline. I chose to be a grill kid at McDonald's, but that is the subject for a different story. So my high school football memories are of hanging out in the student section of the grandstands with my buddies and going to Godfather’s Pizza with my girlfriend after the games. She was in the marching band, so we didn't enjoy the games together.

Which games come to mind the most? The bad weather games, sitting huddled up to keep warm or covered in a trash bag to stay dry.

We are transplants to the great state of WI and until today I had few rainy day football memories to fall back on. Well, there was just two weekends ago attending the Wayland Academy homecoming game. A warm rainy day which found The Big Red trailing 84 - 0 after 3 quarters of play. I remember simply wanting to go home and change clothes that day. But it is a memory.

My most memorable football days? There are two; both at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, NE. The first was a Saturday night ESPN game featuring a Heisman Trophy candidate named Thurman Thomas who played for the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Their coach was Jimmy Johnson, yes that Jimmy Johnson and the backup running back was Barry Sanders. Lots of wind and rain and the running game was featured by both teams. I think Nebraska won, but I’m unsure. The second was on the Saturday after Thanksgiving 1993. That game featured an ice storm that had players sliding all over the artificial turf and scurrying for the safety of the locker room due to lightning.

Don’t get me wrong, I prefer to attend fair weather games, but for some odd reason the foul weather games stick in my memory and get retold over and over. Let’s don our favorite team colors and root, root root regardless of the weather. Do you remember the nasty weather games too?

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