Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What it Was, Was Football

Posted to OGR on 09/26/2010

Back in 1953, a young aspiring comedian, by the name of Andy Griffith went into a recording studio in Raleigh North Carolina and recorded a monologue named “What it Was, Was Football." The monologue is a description of a college football game, as seen by a naive country preacher who thought he was going to a revival and wound up attending a college football game by accident. He describes the experience to his audience in country and barnyard terms. “What it Was, Was Football” is still one of the biggest selling comedy records of all time, and was instrumental in launching Griffith's career in television, stage, and film. Would Mayberry be a part of our collective memories if it were not for that record? Every fall when football season starts, I think of that routine and sometimes wonder what aliens from Mars would think if they came across a football game.

My high school sports were cross country and track, but I was out there in the football stands every Friday night during the fall supporting our team. We didn’t have a football stadium of our own so we played our home games in the Gator Bowl. Needless to say the stands were mostly empty but those of us who were there were enthusiastic enough to fill the stadium with noise. I was also in the band in high school. The first three years, we didn't have a marching band, but we had a large pep band. We got to sit on the 50 yard line so we could be heard by the entire crowd. That was pretty cool. My senior year, we marched for the first time in school history. I will never forget the day that the band instructor, Charlie Hoffecher, took me aside and asked if I would be interested in being the first drum major in the history of my school. Of course I jumped at the chance.

From the field, I could easily see my friends in the stands. I can remember their faces like it was yesterday. Down in Florida, football season always started hot and muggy, but by time the last games came in early November, it was downright chilly. The guys, being guys, dressed pretty much the same all season; Madras shirts, Gantt pants and Bass Weejuns. But the girls oh yes! The girls made football season a fashion show. Sexy, sporty short sleeved blouses and skirts in the early season to fantastic dresses, coats and cute little mittens in November. Their hair was always done up perfectly and we never saw makeup like that in school during the day. I can tell you, that sometimes it was hard to concentrate on what I was doing on the field. Oh MY!

Copyright 2010 Rick Wrigley

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