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Write Again…Now the rest of the story

For the few who may have read last week’s column about the book “A Story of Glory – Duke University Football”, today’s offering is sort of a sidebar to that.

So let me share this with you. It was a “Message From the Publisher,”

and was inserted as a separate part of the book:

“’A Story of Glory’ . . . almost turned out to be a story of disaster. It took Ted Mann 20 years to write the book, yet it could have been destroyed in 20 minutes.

“In September of 1984, only a few days before ‘ Glory’ was ready to roll off the presses of the Strode Publishers in Huntsville, Alabama, the work of an arsonist burned the Strode establishment to the ground. Many existing books and many books in production by this fine, old publishing firm were destroyed; one year later, fire investigators have yet to find the perpetrator of the arson.

“Providentially, the original manuscript, photographs and design for ‘ A Story of Glory’… had been returned to Duke University only days before the fire. We at ‘Doorway Publishers’ are grateful to David Akens of Strode and to the cooperative staff of Duke University for the opportunity to publish this excellent football history.”

Also, and far less important, I mentioned in last week’s column my affinity, from an early age, for Duke athletics, and just about all things Duke. (I do, however, think positively about all of the fine institutions of higher learning in our state, and in the sports realm wish them all well.)

Let me, now, close with a purely personal “link,” sort of, I have with Duke football. I delude myself if I think this is of interest or significance to anyone other than me.

For years, the NCAA decreed that freshmen could not participate in varsity athletics. From an academic standpoint it was a good rule. That was in effect when I went off to school.

Thus, a five game season was allowed for freshman teams to compete against one another. 

Our opponents in the ’57 season were South Carolina, Clemson, North Carolina, NC State, and Duke.

It so happened that our last game was with Duke. It was on a Friday afternoon at Duke, in Wallace Wade Stadium.

My parents drove to Durham, the only time they could attend one of my games.

Well, we lost to the Blue Devils 25-13. In a one-column and only a few inches deep report in the next day’s “News and Observer” sports section, was this sentence:

“Bart Houston, of Washington, NC, set sail around the right end for 49 yards.”

I didn’t get those “fifteen minutes of fame,” but I got one sentence. 

A long, long time ago.