Mon
Mar 10 2008
08:05 am
By: WhitesCreek

by Ray Collett

Hello Readers, For the past two weeks we have been entertained by a "mystery guest" and his remembrances of his dreams of making the football team and even becoming a "HERO".

This has brought more emails and comments than you can "shake a stick" at. So sit back, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and let's find out more....

TOO OLD TO BE A MATADOR - ROCKWOOD FOOTBALL MEMORIES

"The graduation of those 1957 boys made for some slim pickings for Coach Tom Pemberton to fill the team roster in 1958. In fact, the pickings were so slim, he even let me dress out. Coach Tom didn't have a jersey with the number 00 on it or I'm sure he would have given it to me. I found out what it was like to be a varsity bench warmer that year. Well, that's not exactly true either, as I was so far down on the bench, I got to warm only half a seat. I know some of the readers might be slow like me and may not have gotten that "half a bench seat" concept. Let me just say it gave a new meaning to "hanging out" on the bench, and saved my Mom a lot of needle work since she only had to patch one side of the backside of my football pants. Well, read it two or three times and it will come to you how far down the bench I was!"

"I did get in on a few plays in some of the games in 1958. In fact, Coach Tom called my name around the middle of the third quarter of the first game of the season. I couldn't believe it and I ran up to Coach Tom as fast as I could. I always had this funny way of running, coming off the end of the bench, and the coach gave me this strange look that said, "What's going on with you now?" I don't think Coach ever spent two and a half quarters "hanging out" on the end of the bench when he was a player or he would have known why I was running like that."

"I knew some of the cheerleaders, and when they saw me with the coach getting ready to go into the game, they started one of those yells. I don't remember exactly how that yell went, but it went something like, "If he can't do it, nobody can". Those cheerleaders were something special and pretty soon you could hear the whole stadium calling my name."
"Coach Tom told me to go in and tell them to run the 88 jump pass to the right. Now the 88 jump pass to the right meant a pass to the right end, and guess what position I played. If you guessed end then you guessed right and this could be my big freshman moment to be a football hero. After getting the play to take in from Coach, I asked him which end I was supposed to take the place of, all the time hoping he would tell me to replace the right end. The first time that Coach responded I couldn't hear him for all the people cheering and calling my name. The second time I heard him say those immortal words that still ring in my ear from time to time, "You don't replace anyone, get in there and give them the play and get out". Now running in the play with the fans still calling my name, what I really wanted to do was run in, give them the play, and keep on running to the other side of the stadium and out the gate. What I did was worse. In my enthusiasm to get the play in, I said " 88 jump pass" a little too loud, and the other team started jumping up and down and shouting "Pass,Pass". Now all our quarterback had to do was call a time out and ask the coach to send in another play, but he didn't do that. What he did do was run the 88 jump pass to the right, and when Jim Polston caught that ball, I think about ten players hit him at the same time, and he came limping off the field. I was thankful for two things that day, one was that Coach had me come out without replacing anyone, otherwise I might have been the first Tiger to be hurt bad by his own teammates in a huddle. The second thing was that Jim and I were pretty good friends and he didn't try to kill me."

What memories these columns bring back, and I really appreciate the emails, snail mails, and telephone calls with your comments and thoughts of Rockwood in days gone by. We can't bring those days back, but we can certainly talk about them and re-live them in our mind. These new generations don't know what they are missing do they? They sure wouldn't have been "bored" back in our days would they. That about wraps it up for another week, so we will continue to read about the exploits of our "mystery guest" again next week as we journey back in time to see if ever realized his dream to be a football hero.

Until next week........Ray

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