1. Petty Theft
Football players at the high school where I worked were stealing the practice jerseys, so the coach ordered a set with "Property of Central High School" emblazoned on them. When the thefts continued, he ordered a new batch that had the imprint "Stolen from Central High School." But the jerseys still kept disappearing. The larceny finally stopped after he changed the wording to "Central High School 4th String."
-- Hal Olsen
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2. Sports and Poetry
The college football player knew his way around the locker room better than he did the library. So when my husband's co-worker saw the gridiron star roaming the stacks looking confused, she asked how she could help.
"I have to read a play by Shakespeare," he said.
"Which one?" she asked.
He scanned the shelves and answered, "William."
-- Sandra J. Yarbrough
3. Praying for Overtime
My husband, a big-time sports fan, was watching a football game with our grandchildren. He had just turned 75 and was feeling a little wistful. "You know," he said to our grandson, Nick, "it's not easy getting old. I guess I'm in the fourth quarter now."
"Don't worry, Grandpa," Nick said cheerily. "Maybe you'll go into overtime."
-- Evelyn Bredleau
4. Calling the Coach
As a high school football coach, I'm aware that student athletes tend to focus too much on sports. A fellow coach, Bob, was talking about one such player, who called him at home one night. When his wife informed the kid that Bob wasn't home, he became frantic and said he had to speak to the coach right away. "Just calm down, and I'll have him call you as soon as he gets home," the coach's wife told him. "What's your number?"
The flustered kid replied, "Three.
-- Allan Floyd
5. Football Makes Sense
A guy took his blonde girlfriend to her first football game. They had great seats right behind their team's bench. After the game, he asked her how she liked the experience.
"Oh, I really liked it," she replied, "especially the tight pants and all the big muscles, but I just couldn't understand why they were killing each other over 25 cents."
Dumbfounded, her date asked, "What do you mean?"
"Well, they flipped a coin. One team got it, and then for the rest of the game, all they kept screaming was, 'Get the quarter back! Get the quarter back!' I'm like, Hello-o-o? It's only 25 cents!"
-- Melissa Jones
6. Mum's the Word
My neighbor, Terry, a former high-school halfback, came home from combat duty in Afghanistan. He was excited to tell me that his unit had played a makeshift game of football. "Just don't tell my mom," he begged. "If she knew I was playing football she'd worry that I might reinjure my knee."
-- Mike Callison
Standing on the sidelines, during a game being played by my school's football team, I saw one of the players take a hard hit. He tumbled to the ground and didn't move.
We grabbed our first-aid gear and rushed out onto the field. The coach picked up the young man's hand and urged, "Son, can you hear me? Squeeze once for yes and twice for no."
-- Richard Corbin
8. Win or Lose
Driving home dejected from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after a Mississippi-Louisiana State college football game that Ole Miss had lost 24-0, I was ignoring the speed limit and, sure enough, a Louisiana patrolman flagged me down. "You've got me, Officer," I confessed as I handed him my license. "I was speeding."
The officer confirmed that I was clocked at 72 m.p.h. But as he spoke, I noticed him stealing a peek at my game program and a pair of binoculars on the passenger seat. "Were you down for the big game?" he asked.
"Yes, sir," I replied. The officer then paused for what seemed like an eternity.
"Well," he said finally, "I guess you've suffered enough."
I couldn't believe my good fortune. But as my license was handed back to me, I felt compelled to ask a question. "Officer," I said, "what if Ole Miss had won?"
"I'd have locked you up in a heartbeat," came his reply. "Now keep it under 60!"
-- John C. Bonner
9. Being a Good Sport
Halfway through dinner one night, our friend Jim told us of his days playing football in college as a defensive lineman.
"Did you play sports in college, Mike?" his wife then asked me.
"Yes," I answered.
"I was on West Point's shooting team."
"That's great," she said, appropriately impressed. "Offense or defense?"
-- Mike Maloney
The night before she was to attend a celebrity golf tournament, my friend Irene went to a party in honor of the event. Several of the famous athletes who were playing in the tournament were at the door greeting guests. Among them was Joe Montana, the pro football Hall of Fame quarterback and Super Bowl winner. Shaking my friend's hand, he said, "Hi! Joe Montana."
She didn't know Joe Montana from Joe Six-Pack, so in all sincerity she extended her hand and said, "Irene. Minnesota."
-- Roger Lee
As a Catholic, I'm partial to Notre Dame football. As a former Michigan resident, though, I also keep tabs on Michigan college teams. One Saturday afternoon, a neighbor dropped in while I was watching Notre Dame vs. Michigan State. "Which team do you want to win?" he asked.
"Gee, I don't know," I replied. "I'm kind of torn between Church and State."
-- Robert A. Kozma
Our high school has lots of spirit, but that didn't help the football team, who had yet to win a game. So when our principal saw some cheerleaders sitting in the stands, he asked, "Don't you think you girls should be down there cheering for your team?" "I think," one of them said, "we should be down there playing for our team."
-- Emily Karnes, Pueblo, Colo.
13. Number 1
At five-ten and 114 pounds, our son, Dan, is the skinniest player on his high school football team. During one of his games, I remarked to a cousin, "I wonder why they gave him the uniform with the number 1 on it."
"It's probably the only one that fit," she said.
-- Diane Feldman, Litchfield, Neb.
14. Finding Tickets
A buddy of mine, Mike, had season tickets to the Detroit Lions football games. Last year they had such a miserable record that he couldn't give away two tickets to a game he wasn't able to attend. While parking at a mall, he decided to leave the tickets under his windshield wiper. "And that worked?" I asked.
"Not exactly," said Mike. "I returned to find six more tickets to the same game."
-- Joseph L. Fromm
15. Game Day Surgery
On a Saturday afternoon when football fever was running high in South Bend, Indiana, a Notre Dame student was brought into the hospital where I was on duty as a nurse. He had acute appendicitis, and as I prepared him for surgery I asked if he wasn't terribly disappointed to miss the big game.
"Oh, I won't miss it," he said. "Doc is giving me a spinal anesthetic so I can listen to it during the operation!"
-- Rita Hamilton