Topic: Football ---- September 1936
Replies: 1   Last Post: Jul 18, 2019 8:39 PM by: Fordtunate Son
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Football ---- September 1936

Posted: Jul 18, 2019 4:28 PM

It was the first day of school at AHS. Any boy interested in joining the Indian football programs was asked to meet at the football dressing room at the end of the school day. "Dressing Room" was a misnomer, "The Dungeon" would ne a better description of that room. One day I'll attempt to describe that room If I can find the proper words.

The bell sounded, ending the school day, and about 25 - 30 boys began gathering in the Dungeon, a dank, dark and dreary place, C. Aubrey Smith, not to be confused with the famous Hollywood actor, was the head coach. In fact, he was the entire staff. Except for the veterans, this was the first time he had the opportunity to look at the motley crew of sophomore prospects. Among that motley crew was Joe21, weighing in at 130 pounds of bone, grit and other stuff,

Today would be devoted to outlining our pre-season schedule and issuing our uniforms and equipment. Tomorrow, we would dress in our practice uniforms, which would also serve as our game uniforms, and begin hitting from the get-go. Every boy was expected to be in shape without having a written schedule to follow during the summer. Most of the boys lived on farms and handling 200 pound bags of fertilizer was one of the common chores. There was no one in the Dungeon that weighed 200 pounds.

The end of the recession had not yet reached our area so our uniforms and equipment were "hand-me-downs" and they had been "hand-me-downs" for many years. At the end of the previous season, every player took his uniform home to be washed and returned to the Dungeon for storage. The seniors and first team always had first choice of the uniforms and equipment and us "newbees" had the choice of the left-overs. It was easy to recognize those of us who got the left-overs, we got the rags and "did-not-fit" uniforms and equipment.

The helmets and shoes were a complete disaster. They were stacked in the Dungeon since the end of the previous season. They smelled to high=heaven, some were moldy and most were as stiff as a board. We placed them in the sun and poured a light oil over them in an attempt to make them a bit more pliable.
Shoes? We tried on several trying to find something with one that was fairly close to our normal she size. By the end of the season, they were beginning to feel somewhat comfortable.

Athletic budget? I don't remember if we even had one. We purchased only those items that were necessary. Some of our parents made small donations and several local merchants made contributions so we could make the necessary purchases. New uniforms, shoes and equipment were out of the question
The greatest expense as probably for adhesive tape, not for use on our bodies but to hold our uniforms and equipment together. Had duck tape been available at that time, there would have been so much tape on our pants we would probably have been known as the team with the silver britches.

The hip pads and leg pads were made from a material so rigid it was like steel and they were heavy. When we ran the leg pads bounced up and down so much we had to tape them in place. The shoulder pads were like a piece of steel armor and the manufacturer or our purchasing agent must have worked under the theory that one size fits all.

I don't know how old those leather helmets were but from the smell they must have been new when John
Heisman was coach of the Clemson Tigers. And from their appearance they were saturated with blood, sweat and tears. We tried different things to alleviate the smell but were never completely successful. There was no way to get a good fit and quite often in practice and in a game, our helmets came flying off. Face masks had not yet been introduced so we were subject to broken noses, fingers in eyes and face abrasions. The fields were lined with lime and when lime came in contact with an abrasion, it was not a pleasant feeling.

In spite of all these uniform and equipment short comings,. we were proud to wear those old items and be a part of the AHS Indians football team.


Great story Joe! Very colorful. I can almost smell the

Posted: Jul 18, 2019 8:39 PM

leather from those old helmets. This was all pre-platoon stuff, right? So everyone played both ways too?

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