The rock hard surface of the 1963 Houston Robert E Lee High School was moist and slick the afternoon that Carlos almost did me in. It was fifty years ago and I just realized how lucky I was to have survived. For all those years it had never occurred to me what might have happen. It only occurred to me how fortunate my slip on the moist ground was. The trigger to my new found awareness was a Sunday sermon on the consequences of one's own actions. My original thoughts on this subject were of how others might have been effected, a somewhat uneasy revelation. As I pondered these thoughts eventually football overtook the thoughts of girls and rock'n roll.
Funny this one play at practice popped to
I was on offense at wingback with our great Coach "Galloping" Gil
Bartosh standing just behind me in the flat. At the snap I pulled up
and Andy White fired the ball right between the numbers. I caught the
pass and proceed to show Bartosh that I was a ball carrier. So far all
these actions and thoughts had taken place in the blink of an eye. As
the blink was completed there was Carlos coming at "Johnny Carlos up
the middle" speed. Johnny was what we call a north south runner and
anyone in his way would want to have their chin strap on good and
tight. Today's player would need to have all four chin straps snapped
otherwise he would be coming out for at least one play maybe more.
Left unimpeded, Johnny, with speed and he well over 200 lbs could hit.
So for all those years I thought if I had not slipped down I could
have shown Bartosh why he needed to let me carry the ball.
So my new found revelation was, what if I had not been aided by
gravity in avoiding a possesed Carlos, I may not have remembered any of the 63 season.
I say possessed because Johnny
and I split playing time at defensive end. He, I am sure did not like
this arrangement any more than I did. By the way he was charging at me
it is possible he had a remedity for this time splitting arrangement.
Also, I was thinking this play may have been my reasoning for behaving
like King Brat in the last game of the season when I was finally
starting on offense, catching pass and getting to carry the ball. I
confirmed this title in tha last game of the season. My mother had
already given me the title King Brat when Coach Pate asked me to go in
on defense. I more or less refused telling him I am playing offense and to just let Carlos play. Too bad it was the last game of the season I
could have continued to tote the ball and Johnny could have weather permitting go around knocking off people's helmets off.