JerrysJournal9-29

Jerry’s Journal: September 29, 2012

by Jerry Kasperek

Who remember these guys? Their football lineup appeared in “The Fultonian” — Good Old Fulton High School’s yearbook — the 1950 edition. Wow, that was 62 years ago!

Actually, it was 1947 when I was a freshman that I went to my first football game and I went all by myself. I’m not sure why; I guess I was just curious to see how the game was played. I loved basketball so I though football might be fun to watch, too.

Our footfall field at Recreation Park was about where the Pop Warner kids plays these days. Who remembers those old wooden bleachers there; “the grandstand” as they were called which, for many years stood tall and was a visible landmark from West Broadway.

I thought I might sit in the stands that day. But when I got there, a lot of my fellow students were lined up by a fence. So I stood, too, and depended on the “experts” around me to tell me how the game was going – because, except for touchdowns, I didn’t know a darn thing about football and didn’t want anyone to think I was “dumb.”

So I listened and learned and clapped and yelled when my friends did and cheered with the cheerleaders and booed with the crowd and got disgusted like they did when a flag was thrown and a bad call was made.

How ignorant was I of such things? Well, when someone said our team made “first down,” I thought they meant a touchdown. But when I heard something about a “second down,” I realized there was more to a touchdown than meets the eye.

I soon got the hang of it, though, at least the bare-bones of it. I found out that a team has to go ten yards to get a first down, that there were 11 players on the field for each team, that the guy handling the ball is the quarterback, and that there were four quarters and two halves in a game and at halftime the opposing bands took to the field and marched. (The following year I played clarinet in the high school band and was myself on the field at halftime!)

You can see that my football education came long before TVs Friday Night Lights were on the eleven o’clock news and I have among my possessions yearbooks from 1946 to 1951.

So, let’s go back to the 1947 and see what that Fultonian has to say about that football season: “The crowd is tense! Line up! Signal! Shift! Hike! The ball was snapped back to the carrier and the football season was underway.”

It goes on to say that “Later in the season Fulton High’s eleven romped over Oswego in the big game. The grandstand went wild.”  (After reading it, I decided the long ago author really didn’t know much more about football than I did!)

The 1946 yearbook also reported our football team soundly trounced Oswego. “The Red and Green banners were waving high and triumphantly after the final whistle was blown…The team played one of its best games of the season to defeat Oswego, 18-6.

 To read the rest of the column, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397
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