John Howell’s column

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 16, 2011

Can’t remember the game; memories kept crowding in

I was reminded of my own football career recently while watching a junior high game. Mine never advanced beyond the time when huddles were just arguments never resolved over who was going to do what during the next play.

When the ball was next snapped, it was every man for hisself — a bunch of little boys running around in swaths and circles shouting, “Me-me-me” to the quarterback in an attempt to attract the pass.  The game’s complexity increased after a few plays when the defense figured out that if everybody on the other side except the quarterback was going out for a pass, the quarterback was left an easy target.

Buddy Bickerstaff’s yard on Eureka Street was large enough to accommodate our games. Buddy, Rowland Hancock, Jim Greenlee, Dudley Butler, Asa Tucker, Ronnie Elmore, all of whom lived close by, formed the core of impromptu teams to which other players would be added as they made themselves available.

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The vacant lot beside the old courthouse was the site of fall Sunday afternoon games as was the front of the old high school (now the Batesville Intermediate building).

I can’t remember much about the junior high game I went to see. They were organized and well-coached and well-equipped, but once these memories started flowing my mind got crowded.
I just hoped those boys I was watching were having as much fun as I was remembering.