Thursday, October 22, 2009

Skipping Ahead A Bit In The Memoirs

This is part of something I wrote on another message board with some editing, okay?

My very good friend on the Dope, Oakminster, brought this to mind when he shared this in a thread of mine called "Your Favorite Commercials".

Okay, I have already mentioned that my American soldier Dad brought me and my German Mom and brother to the US in 1960.

At that time, I still spoke with a very heavy German accent and did my best to try to fit in.

One of the ways was to "go out" for "Midget Football" and it was my first encounter with who would prove to be an inspiration to me and I am sure many others: Coach Roger Sauls who passed away last year.

Coach was very patient with me, teaching me the "ins and outs" of throwing and kicking that strange looking egg-shaped ball!

In those days, a lot of little boys went out for it and we all had our heroes on the Villa Rica Wildcats Varsity team. A couple of mine were John "Shaky" Smith, "Tiny" Cole, and Larry "Legs" Butler (who later became a cousin-in-law), and boy, didn't we wait for them to come out of the locker room and follow them as far to the field as we were allowed to go? I can still hear those cleats on the pavement and feel the crisp night air and hear the sounds of the band playing "Mr. Touchdown", as the guys clattered down the steps of the stadium which was at that time located behind Villa Rica Elementary School.

For a little kid just off the plane from Germany, that was a whole new experience, and so I too went out for the Midget Wildcat team and started practicing. Didn't make the backfield, but Coach found me a place on the line as a Tackle.

We practiced all summer long, and I struggled with the language, the rules of the game, and tried real hard to fit in. It wasn't always easy, and I had the first of what would be many broken noses in those days!

Well, school started and time came for jerseys. There were always more kids than there were jerseys, and we all knew that some of us might not get one, or if we did that we might have to take it off during the game and share it with another kid Coach might send in to play, but we all really wanted one because we knew it meant we'd be playing "first string"!

Well, names were called out and jerseys started flying out of boxes into the hands of some happy little boys, and because I knew I had had problems with the language and the rules, I also knew I'd have to share a jersey if I played, and as the boxes began to empty, I drifted to the back of the crowd, and prepared myself for the disappointment.

And that's when my jersey hit me in the back of the head.

I turned around and saw Coach look at me and wink.

And that's what I remember about Roger Sauls.


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