Friday at 8 p.m. was a scared time

Published 2:48 pm Monday, November 28, 2022

As a young boy, I disliked the winter Daylight Savings Time.  It shortened the days and made the nights seem longer, especially on Friday nights. We got out of school at 3:00 P.M. and I would hurry home to begin a sandlot football game somewhere in town.

Friday night in the winter was a sacred night for high school football and I did not miss a home game the Pam Pack played at Kugler Field.  I would wonder as I played our sandlot game, what the varsity team was doing?  You see the Pam Pack did not play until 8:00 p.m. when I was growing up and now, has moved up to 7:00 to help the media and I can see why. So, as a young boy I would have to wait to 7:30 p.m. for my dad to carry me to Kugler Field.   It would turn dark at 5:00, so we stopped playing our sandlot football game to get ready to go watch the Pam Pack play. Oh, I needed to get there at 7:30 to watch pre-game warm-ups and get some popcorn and a program. We stood on the baseball diamond where both teams ran out to the field and we got to watch our heroes go on the field.

I would wonder what they did from 3:00 till the time they reported to the fieldhouse for the game. Did they go with their girlfriend after school, eat pre-game meal, or have a team meeting at the school? What was Coach Wagner doing?  He always had his team ready to play whatever he did.

The visiting team always dressed in the old fieldhouse behind home plate and that was an old tin building. What did the opposing team do?  The old Northeastern Conference was full of great teams with good players.  Wonder what they did after school?  Guess Roanoke Rapids, Elizabeth City and Jacksonville were traveling while I was playing sandlot.

Dad came home around six o’clock and we had to eat supper, which I could have done without, but I ate what my mother cooked.  No questions asked!  It seemed like the longest hour and a half until dad said, “You ready”? Could not hardly wait I wanted to tell my dad.  I was dressed in warmest clothes and had my jacket like Coach Wagner wore to keep me warm.  We picked up every kid in the neighborhood from Bubba, Thad, Larry, Keith and the Renn brothers, Mike and Wayne. So, we were off!

I still do not like daylight savings time until the spring, even if they do not play football in the spring.  It was cold in the winter and I do not know how the visiting team stayed warm in that old tin fieldhouse but they played hard against the Pam Pack.

I wonder what kids do today? If you are a youngster and do not have anything else to do, play football! It seemed to be the only game in town when I was a youth and it seemed like time dragged on ‘til eight o’clock. Now as a coach, I know what the team does!

They were the best of times with the best of friends and in the best of places, Washington, N.C.! The Original Washington!