Write Again … The Long, Blue Line endures

Published 10:39 pm Monday, August 5, 2013

Some of us sometimes tend to romanticize, look back through a filter at what we now perceive as the golden days of our lives. Our youth.

You know, those carefree (not always), happy (not always), idyllic

(not always), days of our youth.

Having said that – with all those qualifications — I still look back upon many of those days as very, very special, and I — like so many of my contemporaries – feel we were blessed, and we are truly grateful.

Each year, as the days of August roll around, my thoughts often turn

to football. For back then, preseason practice would begin Aug. 15, with the first game usually following about two weeks and maybe a couple of days later.

In those days there seemed a bit more — no, a lot more — sanity in

scholastic athletics. Seasons didn’t last as long, and any organized practice prior to Aug. 15 was prohibited.

Youth athletics today is much different, in many sports. It seems, in

a way, that some sports seasons never end. In the college ranks, and in the professional leagues, it’s even worse. Professional sports is big business.

This is also true with the colleges, and the dollars involved and the place of importance competitive athletics holds in many of our colleges and universities is utterly ridiculous. What in the hello-pete does sports at this level have to do with higher education? What, indeed. (Money, of course.)

But for those of us who were fortunate to come up in a time when

common sense was more the rule than the exception in high school sports, and far less out of kilter in the collegiate level, those days were, indeed, golden ones.

We had two-a-day in preseason practices at Washington High.

Those with summer jobs, and that was just about everyone, tried to work around that. The children who worked on the farms usually missed the morning practices. Nobody, but nobody, missed the evening sessions.

Those practices could be tough, sometimes grueling.  And remember, that was back in the days when even a sip of water was strictly forbidden.

There were times when there would have been little we wouldn’t have done or given just for a couple of swallows of water.

That’s all in the past. And though memory can be a bit fuzzy on some of those recollections, much of those times are still alive within us.

As I once read somewhere, “the past is never past.”

Although it’s been more than a half-century since I last pulled on that

number 10 jersey, I don’t think I’ll ever really forget those times in my life, nor those team mates with whom I shared those special experiences.

Here in Washington we former Pam Pack players — through all the years, and even up to today — are part of a brotherhood.

We are part of the Long Blue Line.

APROPOS —  “I lost myself in the sweat and noise and grass stains and Friday night lights and marching bands and the sheer iridescent joy and challenge and validation of sport and physical achievement.” — Doug Marlette, from “The Bridge.”