Has-beens tell many tales and practically all bend the truth - but funny - no one seems to
Still, at a recent gathering of our has-been crowd I overheard a conversation between two spouses of
has-beens that went like this:
Spouse 1 (speaking low): "They tell these same stories every year."
Spouse 2 (eyes rolling): "I know - don't they realize?"
We do realize - sort of - but doesn't everyone just love to hear these stories? And don't the
listeners think that we, the tellers, are just a bit more special (read, cool) after hearing these tales? Don't they?
Into the Breach
Hands Like Henry
Oafs Go Deep
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Oft Told [Tall] Tales
Got a tall tale to tell? -
Please email any and all.
"Hands Like Henry" by Milton
One of the more pleasant aspects was basking in the afterglow of victory, especially in the easy atmosphere
of your own fraternity house following one of our wins at home in Taylor Stadium. This moment of euphoria was all too brief,
for before long you began thinking ahead to Sunday afternoon's film session, at which the real worth of your
contribution would be on screen for all to see. But, for a short while, as your friends clustered about to enthuse
on what a great game you played, it required no effort to suspend reality and wallow in the pool of self-satisfaction.
While absorbing these congratulations, you knew deep down that most well-wishers could not distinguish a flanker
from an on-side kick, but they meant well, they were your friends, and at the time it all sounded real good.
As most compliments came from those who did not appreciate the finer points of the sport, anything that one
might have done in the game which brought visibility, created an image in memory and thus became the centerpiece for
those much appreciated remarks. In my own case catching a pass was the most common such event. At post-game
parties, every catch was "great catch."
One afternoon I had made a very ordinay reception of a very ordinary pass, at a most uncritical part of the game,
which affected the ultimate outcome not one iota. Sure enough, post-game my chohorts gather about to offer
congratulations on our victory and the "great catch." While this is going on, good friend and roommate Doug Yano wanders
by and catches the drift of the conversation. He sneers - friendly-like - and offers, "Great catch? my man Henry Castle could
have made that catch."
Of course I knew our man Henry, notably as a fierce linebacker, often delivering swats to enemy recievers
out in the flats. As for his "receiving" talents I can only recall a silly practice diversion that we played from time to time
called "Oafs go deep" that involved linemen and linebackers running out for very long passes.
I recall Henry surviving that drill without serious injury and doubtless catching a few, or one.
Plus our man Henry had other talents. Notably he was a nimble springtime lacross player, and a teammate of Yano's, a further fact
in support of Doug's assessment that - "Henry Castle could have made that catch." Thus I conclude, considering
all of the parameters to bear on the issue, that perhaps having the ability to receive the oblate spheroid placed on par
with Henry's was not a bad thing ... perhaps even a commendable thing.
I say this now from the perspective of an additional forty plus years of experience and mellowing. I can assure you that
back in 1961 my sensibilities were much less polished. Then, I much perferred well-meaning fluff from friend who knew
less about football than Yano. Today? Honestly? The same may be true - but isn't it funny? - the things one remembers.
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