Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Here We Go Again

It's September again. That means summer is coming to an end. It's back to school. My birthday is just around the corner. AND ... the football season is here! Football ...

"Football is like life - it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication, and respect for authority." (Vince Lombardi, Jr.)

"If a man watches three football games in a row, he should be declared legally dead." 
(Erma Bombeck)

"Football is all very well as a game for rough girls, but it is hardly suitable for delicate boys. 
(Oscar Wilde)

"The thing about football - the important thing about football - is that it is not just about football." (Unknown)

Okay - how about a couple of football pics from my collection to kick off a new season!

It's 1973. The place is Watertown, WI. The scene is the Northwestern Trojans sweep left. That's QB Rog "Rocky" Neumann (WELS pastor in Iowa) carrying out the fake. "Carrying the mail" is the best football player I every played with bar none, Mark "Al" Toepel (WELS pastor at Lakeside Lutheran High School.) Leading the way is 5' nothing human bowling ball guard Tommy Lindloff (WELS pastor at Luther Prep), and #40, is yours truly. 
It was a beautiful fall afternoon, I remember that, and a great day for football. And I remember those black jerseys and rich red pants and the black helmets with red and white piping. Thanks to student photographer John Paustian (WELS pastor in West Bend, WI) who sent me this picture just a few years ago.
I'd like to tell you that both Tommy and I got our guys and Al went the distance for six. But I don't remember that. Probably not. Coach Len Umnus told us once, "The older you get, the better you were." That's probably true.

The best thing about this photo is in the background. At Northwestern some of the students and Sem guys and pastors walked the sidelines on the visitor side of the field. Was that way for years. You were closer to the game, could walk the field, and ... heckle the opponents. Look closely at the guys lining the fence! See my friends Bruce "Bruc" Hartwig, Mark Bitter, Don Sutton (out with a season ending injury), Mark Schwertfeger, Mark "Time of Grace" Jeske, Rog Kuerth, and Marcus Bode. Often, more was happening on that sideline as on the field - including halftime refreshments out the trunk of a car on the alley by the hospital!!!

You have to go back a couple years for this next one! What a hoot. This was from the high school pre-season article from the sports page of the Watertown Daily Times - fall of 1969 - and the pic features the Northwestern Prep Hornet starting backfield. The caption says it all! (Tap on the picture to enlarge.)

But it's a lie! Coach Ed Pieper "instructing us on passing techniques." Yeah, right! An obvious posed picture - and besides, I think Big Ed threw left-handed. I do remember those practice jerseys though - a grey flannel-like material - hot and heavy when they got sweaty wet. Yikes. And by he way we went into Horicon (after about a week of practice and they with one game in already) and we got the you know what kicked out of us. We were not ready and they were good. I scored on a long touchdown pass - but it got called back on a bogus holding call. I also fumbled inside the five - and what is worse, I couldn't get up as both calves cramped up. (These were the days when for some reason or another we did not have water on the sidelines! You heard me - water was not allowed!) Brother David came to the game. I was embarrased. Oh well - that reminds me of one more quote: "In football everything is complicated by the presence of the other team." (Jean-Paul Sartre).

And finally - what is football without cheerleaders!?! Black and Gold Fight Fight Fight!
Marcia Hackbarth (Stueber) - Joanne Jaeger (Sutton) - Doreen Marohl - Carol Mateske (Dolan)_ - Collette Wegner


  1. I love the sideline party. I see Grandpa in your face in that pre-Horicon pic, and Mom as a cheerleader is the best!

  2. I often see both my Dad and Isaiah in a lot of my pictures at all different ages. Guess that makes sense, huh?

  3. So awesome! I'm amazed at the details you remember of these experiences...