Late yesterday afternoon, my nephew Tommy Duff “tagged” me in a Facebook link. Tick Bryan did it last year for every game. This morning Tick posted a link to highlights of the link Tommy had me tagged.
It was the Lebanon High School (Tennessee, of course) Blue Devils playing their first football game of this season against Hartsville’s Trousdale County High School Yellowjackets.
The Blue Devils won, 16-10.
And the highlight reel below (Do they still call them “reels?”) shows the run that took me back.
Like early 1950’s back. Not August. The nine-game season didn’t start until September back when school didn’t start until after Labor Day because there were still farmers whose high school sons had farm work to complete. Not at the Hartmann Drive, Hickory Ridge Road intersection, not even the stadium bounded by Knoxville Avenue and Tennessee Boulevard near where the old pencil factory was an even longer time ago.
No, i went back to the field bounded on the east by Fairview Avenue and whatever there was before the Baddour Parkway by-pass was even thought of. Steel girders and wood bench seats. October maybe. Late October. Cold enough for me to see and laugh at my frosted breath. Cold enough to make my feet sting. In one of the first few rows around the south side 40-yard line. With my father’s encouragement, the feisty, solid but not fat, little kid with a flattop covered by an ear-flapped billed cap screaming his head off. Often. Because i went into that high-pitched yell every time Clifton Tribble took the handoff from David Robinson and cut through the line in a hole opened up by Don Franklin, then weaving his way gracefully through the secondary and then put it into high gear headed unstoppably for the goal line. Many times it seems some 65 years later.
Yep. Last night 22 miles northeast of the old stadium where Sellars Funeral Home now stands, Chandler Crite, the Blue Devil quarterback takes a snap looking more like a tailback in the single wing (i wonder if he knows what that means), cutting through the line, weaving through the secondary, diving over the goal line.
Ain’t Clifton. But man was i back, all the way back to football a long, long time ago.
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Thanks, Tommy. Thanks, Tick. Thanks, Chandler.