Guest Author - Judith Hodges
We have a local website for our football team. It has back articles of the football team that the webmaster has spent hours looking up at the local library. The "holy grail" of high school football was delivered to my house yesterday to be typed for the site. The articles start in 1911. It is funny how things change, but stay the same.
First of all, nowhere in my article will you find the words heretofore. Closely contested today means getting in the referees' faces. It seems we still try to find catchy sayings to grab readers' attentions. One of my favorite from 1923 is the "human battering-ram". "A goodly scrap" is a game to look forward to. Also "a backfield that is irresistible" sounds like some of the female writers I read on why they watch football.
The concerns for the players are the same. We still hold the best players at a higher level. But we say things a little different today. When a player was hurt in the 1920s, they were "not in the very pink condition". Today a player would be very angry if they were said to be in "pink condition". When a star player moved to a different school, the news was written up in the local paper. Nicknames are great for players too. In 1923, we had Bummy, Tiny, and Babe. Today, we have Big Baby and Little D. Everyone knows them by these names.
The rules of the game have changed too. Kicking the ball over the goal line doesn't get you 2 points unless the team is going for a field goal. A touchdown is not worth 5 points, but 6. Their rules were loosely based on a rugby style of play in the beginning.
The teams were called the Heavyweights and the Lightweights. The average weight of the team was one hundred and thirty-eight pounds. The average high schooler including girls don't weight that little. So I am not sure how small the Lightweights were.
It is fun to see how our team has changed. I can't wait to get to the part of the book when we stopped getting beat 58-0. It won't be long.