What it was … Was football!

Published 7:03 pm Friday, September 1, 2023

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Had the high heels of my Sunday shoes not been wedged deep into the slippery, grassy, slope of Auburn University’s Cliff Hare Stadium I would have skidded down through the end zone, under the goalpost, through the defense and come to rest on the 50-yard line.

But, the marching band was playing a John Phillip Sousa march while the coaches were taking a quick time and the players drank from the water bucket.

The uniforms of both the Tigers and the Tide were already stained with signs of the battle — sweat, grass, dirt …and blood smears.

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What it was, WAS football.

The cheerleaders kicked their wool skirts high, up over their letter-sweaters. The crowd yelled “War Damn Eagle!” and the Tide fans yelled back, “Rammer Jammer, Yellow Hammer give ‘em hell Alabama!”

What it was WAS football.

The referee blew his whistle and the head-knockin’ started once again.

A fullback and linebacker collided like Mack trucks, two receivers crashed in midair and a player shoved the quarterback. No flags. What it was WAS football.

At halftime, the bands traded time on the field. One played “The Stars and Stripes Forever” and the other played “Semper Fidelis.” Fans cheered.

What it was WAS football.

The second half was more grunt, grime and guts. The referees didn’t hesitate in making the calls.  Fans on one side cheered while fans on the other side booed.  All for naught. The ref was always right.

What it was WAS football.

Back on the homefront, we listened to the games on the radio usually on the front porch where it was easier to pick up the game –depending on the weather or how many transfer trucks interfered.

Often to “pick up” the game, we had to get in the car and ride every direction in four counties to avoid the static and “get” the game to “come in.”

What it was WAS football.

The away games often weren’t on the radio so we had to wait to get the Sunday newspaper to see who won or lost.

But, what it was, WAS football.

There is nothing today that can compare to the excitement and anxious moments of waiting to hear the radio announcer yell…” Touchdown!……..”

What it was Was football.

Football season will kick off this weekend. The games will last four hours. There will be plenty of time to change the oil in the car or birth a baby while the officials are deciding on the impact a blade of grass had on the positioning of the football.

Usually, I look forward to football season; this year…. not so much.

I’m in the huddle with those who aren’t all that anxious to watch NDBEY (not dry behind the ears yet) millionaire “recruits” and “transport discontents” play the game that WAS football.