Saturday seemed to come very early that day in October. After the home football game we all went to the usual Friday night dance and then on to the Rainbow for burgers and coke. By the time all of this transpired it was close to midnight. We were told by Coach after the game that we had better show up for football practice at 8:00 AM Saturday morning and be dressed in our practice uniforms. That seemed strange at the time, even though the Coach had chewed us out with some very choice words, some of which cannot be related in this post, for sure! We were just ready for the usual Friday night fun after the game and did not think too much about the fact that Coach seemed unusually unhappy with us. So off we went to have fun even though we had a bad taste in our mouths over our loss to a team we were supposed to beat.
I managed to get up just before 7:30 so I did not have time for breakfast. I grabbed a piece of toast and hurried to the locker room to get dressed for the Saturday morning practice. None of us could understand why we were supposed to wear our uniforms since Saturday practices usually involved warm up, stretching and running some drills. Well, this was no usual Saturday practice!
Once on the field Coach called us together and again reamed us out for our poor play the night before. It seemed he was still mad or maybe even more so. He said, this morning we are going to find out which ones of you lazy guys really want to play on this team. So, give me 50 (yes 50!) laps around the outside of the football field and while you are running and sweating think about what a lousy job you did last night. OMG, 50 laps, we were sure we would all be dead before we made it 50 times around the outside of the field.
So we started out. If we were going too slowly Coach would let us know. Each of us begin counting, realizing that this was no idle threat, but punishment for the way we played or at least for the way the Coach thought we played. At first our overall conditioning worked pretty well, but by about lap 25 we began to come unglued. Their was lots of retching of the pancakes and syrup some players had for breakfast. Those of us who did not get breakfast may have been the lucky ones as we did not get sick, we just totally ran out of energy sometime just after lap 25. Around and around we went, each lap taking a toll one way or the other. About 2 hours passed, the fast runners were done and trying to recuperate on the sidelines while the rest of us plodded along hoping some how this torture would end soon. Finally, some folks just quit and most of us finished by cutting the corners whenever the Coach was not watching. We were sitting on the sidelines trying to get some breath when Coach hit us with the final blow, TIME TO SCRIMMAGE!!
We could not believe our ears, scrimmage? What was the Coach thinking of, was he kidding. No, we were supposed to line up to scrimmage. We somehow picked ourselves up from the grass and lined up. One team running the offense and the other trying to stop them. Over and over it seemed we scrimmaged until almost noon. It was ugly, brutal, dirty, bloody, sweaty and just plain unnatural. Bloody noses were common in those days as our helmets had no face guards. This seemed to especially true on this terrible Saturday as tempers were on short fuse and there were some fights as well. Sometimes we wondered if Coach liked the sight of blood, if so, we spilled plenty that morning. Finally it was over. We limped back to the locker room, stripped off our uniforms, some took showers and some just left as fast as they could. I remember lying on the floor when I reached home with my face under the couch for the rest of the day. I think I went to sleep, but I do not remember much of the rest of that day or the night that followed. They say, “that which does not kill you will make you stronger”, not sure about that saying as I remember that day. High School football in Wild and Wonderful Wyoming in those days was not the well-run, well-coached endeavor it is in most places today, that is for sure! How about that funny photo??