The Paregien Journal – Issue 322 – February 5, 2016
Stan Paregien, Editor
Football, American Style
What It Was, Was Football
by Andy Griffith
[ Andy Griffith, a 1949 graduate of the University of North Carolina, became a struggling entertainer, actor and musician. Late in 1949 he sat down and wrote a folksy story about a church deacon’s very first time to attend a football game. He called his humorous story, “What It Was, Was Football.” He performed his story in coffee shops, churches and private parties and always got a great response from his audiences. Finally, Colonial Records in Chapel Hill, NC recorded the story and released it on November 14, 1953. It became very popular and they sold it to Capitol Records. It remained popular for decades, finally selling over a million copies. The first time I heard the story was when I visited my cousin, Bruce Young, in Duncan, Oklahoma in the summer of 1954. He played his 45 rpm record of Griffith’s football story and I laughed myself silly. And so did my cousin, even though he had played that record for others dozens of times. Heck, it is still funny there some 62 years later. – Stan Paregien Sr.]
It was back last October, I believe it was. We was agonna hold a tent service off at this college town. And we got thar about dinnertime on Saturday. And different ones of us thought that we ought to get us a mouthful to eat before that we set up the tent. And so we got offa the truck and followed this little bunch of people through this small little bitty patch of woods thar, and we come up on a big sign it says, “Get somethin’ t’ Eat chyere!” I went up and got me two hot dogs and a big orange drink.
But before that I could take a-ry mouthful . . . this whole raft of people come up around me and got me to where I couldn’t eat nothing. And I dropped my big orange drink. I did.
Well, friends, they commenced to move, and there wasn’t so much that I could do but move with ’em. We commenced to go through all kinds of doors and gates and I don’t know what- all. And I looked up over one of ’em and it says, “North Gate.”
We kept on a-going through thar, and pretty soon we come up on a young boy and he says, “Ticket, please.” And I says, “Friend, I don’t have a ticket;
I don’t even know where it is that I’m a-going!” I did. Well, he says, “Come on out as quick as you can.” And I says, “I’ll do ‘er; I’ll turn right around the first chanct I get.”
Well, we kept on a-moving through there, and pretty soon everybody got where it was that they was a-going, because they parted and I could see pretty good. I could. And what I seen was this whole raft of people a-sittin’ on these two banks and a-lookin at one another across this pretty little green cow pasture.
Well, they was.
And somebody had took and drawed white lines all over it and drove postys in it, and I don’t know what all. And I looked down there and I seen five or six convicts a running up and down and a-blowing whistles. They was!
And then I looked down there and I seen these pretty girls a-wearin’ these little bitty short dresses and a-dancing around. So I sit down and thought I’d see what it was that was a-gonna to happen. I did.
About the time I got set down good I looked down there and I seen thirty or forty men come runnin’ out of one end of a great big outhouse down there. They did!
And everybody where I was a-settin’ got up and hollered!
And about that time thirty or forty come runnin’ out of the other end of that outhouse, and the other bankful, they got up and hollered. And I asked this fella that was a besittin’ beside of me, “Friend, what is it that they’re a-hollerin’ for?”
Well, he whopped me on the back and he says, “Buddy, have a drink!” Well, I says, “Well, I believe I will have another big orange.” And I got it and set back down.
When I got down there, again, I seen that the men had got in two little bitty bunches down there real close together. And they voted. They did. They voted.
They elected one man apiece, and them two men come out in the middle of that cow pasture and shook hands like they hadn’t seen one another in a long time.
Then a convict come over to where they was a-standin’, and he took out a quarter and they commenced to odd-man right there! They did! Well, After a while I seen what it was they was odd-manning for. It was that both bunches full of them wanted this funny lookin little pumpkin to play with. They did. And I know, friends, that they couldn’t eat it because they kicked it the whole evenin’ and it never busted.
Uh, anyhow, what I was a-tellin’ was that both bunches wanted that thing. One bunch got it and it made the other bunch just as mad as they could be! And Friends, I seen that evenin’ the awfulest fight that I ever have seen in all my life!
They would run at one -another and kick one- another and throw one another down and stomp on one another. And grind their feet in one another and I don’t know what-all. And just as fast as one of ’em would get hurt, they’d tote him off and run another one on.
Well, they done that as long as I sat there, but pretty soon this boy that had said “Ticket, please,” he come up to me and says, “Friend, you’re gonna have to leave because it is that you don’t have a ticket.” And I says, “Well, all right.” And I got up and left.
And I don’t know friends, to this day, what it was that they was a doin’ down there. But I have studied about it. I think it was that it’s some kindly of a contest where they see which bunchful of them men can take that pumpkin and run from one end of that cow pasture to the other without either gettin’ knocked down or steppin’ in somethin’.
by Stan Paregien Sr.
Our old high school football coach was a
strange kind of guy,
One who was mentally pumped up
and always flying high.
He always told the fans,
“This will be the year
That we vanquish our rivals
and fill them with fear.”
Our coach turned into a madman
when the starting whistle blew.
“Get out there, boys, and
kill a mother’s son or two!
“Mangle their bodies like your
momma’s mash sauerkraut
Gouge ’em hard, bite ’em
and bash their brains out!”
“Make dead meat of that low-life,
rotten scum-bag team.
“Don’t let ’em up off the ground
until they start to scream.”
“And above all,” the coach said,
when the principal came around,
“Remember, gentleman, it’s just a game.
“So let sportsmanship abound.”
Now, . . . my personal choice of some of the
best coaches ever.
Walter Camp, a coach at Yale University, is considered the father of modern football.
Coach Wilkinson led the University of Oklahoma Sooners to an amazing string of 47 straight wins. He was a man of great personal integrity as well.
Coach Bob Stoops in 2016 will begin his 18th year as the head football coach of the Sooners. He won one National Championship soon after he started and has come awfully close two or three other times, including this last season. He is a pretty doggone solid citizen.
You’re never gonna hear Nick Saban say, “Hey, brother, could you loan me a dime?” He makes multi-millions each year, thank you. In January of 2016 he won his fifth–count ’em, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5–national football championship. The astounding thing is that all those were not with Alabama, his current time. No, siree. His first national championship was in 2003 with the LSU Tigers. The man is simply a mastermind at getting the best from both his players and his assistant coaches.
Now, . . . The Football Players
Jim Thorp, above, was outfitted as most players were in the 1920s and 1930s with a few lumpy pads and a simple leather helmet with no face mask at all. The rate of injuries per game was very high. Then along came plastic helmets with more protection. And then the addition of face masks, although mine in 1958 was just a rod about the size of my index finger. I personally found out that a football, thrown really hard at an end who just turned around, will jam through the helmet and the top of the facemask rod and knock off a lot of bark. Today many of the linemen look as though they’re wearing baseball catcher’s masks.
Spencer Tillman was another outstanding running back at the University of Oklahoma. He went on to a broadcast career in which he announces football games and/or is a half-time commentor. He is also in great demand as a speaker by corporations and Christian churches.
And . . . here are a few more cartoons for your enjoyment.
Oh, to give you something else to laugh about, here are photos of me during my “lustrous” high school and college football career. I fought for the “Flashes” of dear ol’ Fillmore, California high school.
And I played football one year at a very small religious school, Columbia Christian College, in Portland, Oregon. I played quarterback, but only because the coach decided we were in dire need of the best athlete at the running back position. The best thing one could say about our team is that we still had enough guys to finish the season . . . and we were nothing if not consistent. We lost every game.
I’m #15, the one with the ball and headed for a bad wreck. About the third game of the year my right foot was fractured and that was the end of my football days.
And now, . . . a word from our sponsor.
Oh, hey, that’s me.
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That’s about it for this time, friends. Soon I will resume my extended profile of presidential candidate Marco Rubio.