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Write Again … That’s who we are

For almost the entirety of my first sixty or more years — well, from around a little before age 10 — athletics increasingly became a really important part of my life.

It wasn’t just that I liked sports, I loved sports. Playing, watching, coaching or talking about sports; I loved every aspect of it.

However, I have never been a real fan of, nor much interested in, professional sports. Now, I tried to feign interest when someone who followed professional sports wanted to talk about it, but that was about the extent of my relation to play-for-pay athletics.

High school and college sports I kept up with. That’s probably an understatement. I loved it all. Oh, yes.

All of that is in the past now. However, I do empathize with all of the young people in high school who have had their sports seasons truncated, or even done away with because of the pandemic. Especially do I feel for the seniors.

I feel similarly for college seniors who have been so affected, but not to the same empathetic degree.

All of which brings me to that which I really want to say.

An apt segue all that probably really isn’t, but, anyway, here we go.

The 1956 Pam Pack football team. Being a part of that group is something I cherish even now, some 64 years later.

I think of that season, and about my teammates, with much gratitude … and genuine love. How fortunate we all were to be a part of that memorable season.

We were, in the best sense of the word, a team. Not just a few stars, not just starters and reserves; we were all important as members of a team. Everyone contributed in some way. Everyone.

A lot of my teammates are now gone. Our field of dreams, Kugler Field, no longer comes to life under the lights on Friday nights in the fall.

Maybe, just maybe, the shadows of young men engaging in the joys of physical competition assemble there once again on a fall Friday night, on occasion. Maybe. We wouldn’t be able to see them, but …

Those Pam Pack brothers of mine who have gone on are Larry Aldridge, Earl Daniels, Billy Gilgo, Joe Hassell, George Kelley, Paul Leggett, John Ratcliffe, Jimmy Silverthorne, Dukie Watson and Jack Warren. Gone, also, are coaches Wagner, Everett, Sweel and Bush.

We who tarry here, perhaps for a while longer, are Ronald Alligood, Donald Ambrose, Billy Carter, Steve Cochran, Doug Currier, Durwood Dixon, Jess Harrington, Carl Jones, Eddie Knott, Skybo Langley, Ward Marslender, Ben McHorney, Graham Singleton, Marshall Singleton, Lee Tankard, Fritz Tanner and yours truly.

All who came before us, all who have come after, and all who are yet to come, are or will be part of something very special: the Long Blue Line.

That’s who we are.