Skipping a beat on Friday night

Published 3:39 pm Monday, June 26, 2023

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In Eastern North Carolina the heartbeat of every town used to be the high school stadium.  Having coached for so many years, I used to enjoy riding through a town and finding the old stadium.  It was the towns heartbeat!  Riding through Edenton, it was Riddick Field and in Wallace it was Thell Overman field.  In Williamston it was Skewarkee Stadium and in Washington it is Kugler Field.  Driving by, it seems to be as lonesome as Todd Maxwell Field!  Gone are the field houses, the bleachers and the concession stand.  If were not for the Washington Youth Football League, it would not get used and I am appreciative for the league having their games there.

There was a time when the Pam Pack played all their home games there. A person could not find a parking place in Wanoca on Friday. Jimmy Larkin’s band would keep the fans in their seat and the football team had so many stars that a young boy could not wait till 8:00 p.m. to see his heroes in Blue and White play.  Every time the Pam Pack scored you could hear the band play, O we’re the Pam Pack.

Many a Friday night as a young boy, I would climb out my window, ride my bicycle to see the band returning to the high school and would ask what was the score?  They always answered me, “Yeah, we won”!  Like it was nothing! You see the band room was on Ninth Street and it was a block away from my house.  The longest part of the day was when we got out of school and could not wait until our father got finished with supper to take us to the game.  We dreamed about the time we could play for the Pam Pack!

Coach Wagner was like a rock star to us boys.  We all grew up wanting to play for him to not let him down.  I can remember lining up on the fence facing Hudnell Street waiting to get tapped on the shoulder to see if I got J.V. equipment.  There that many boys trying out for just the J.V. team.

Yes, the heartbeat of every town in Eastern North Carolina was the high school football stadium.  Ours was the gift from the Kugler family and I am so appreciative to them for donating the land.  My wish is that the Pam Pack would play one game there and watch the crowd swell, or at least hold a practice there.

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

Harold Jr.