I think it is time for David Wright and me to stop picking teams in athletic competitions. He promised me he was not going to the Regional Final between the girls from Manual and the girls from Assumption. Since he wasn’t going, I figured the jinx factor would be reduced by 50%. Imagine my surprise when I got to the game and saw him hiding in the stands. Oh! Woe, woe, woe! Next, we pulled for U of L in the NCAA Tournament, but they went down the drain in the Texas A&M game. I temporarily gave up basketball. However, my strength was renewed in time to watch UK lose to Kansas. Then we pulled for Memphis, Xavier, and Tennessee–and all of them went down the drain. I have now, officially, given up basketball. After UK was wacked and Tubby was sacked, David and I were stacked, backed, and fracked.
Gamblers started calling me to find out who I was pulling for. The Coaches Association sent me several death threats, advising me that if either David or I pulled for their team, we would be wacked. I took them at their word, and I have stopped pulling. In the Finals between Ohio State and Florida, my wife predicted that Florida would win the NCAA Tournament and, if they did, she would win the office pool. I went out, got a red and silver shirt with “Ohio State” on it and a pom-pom that was red and silver. I sat in front of the television and cheered loudly for Ohio State. Her feelings were hurt, but I explained that I was guaranteeing her a win. We were not to allow any thoughts about me actually being for Florida to enter the equation, or else they would be flushed. At the end of the night she thanked me for pulling for Ohio State.
In order to desensitize myself, I have turned back to football. Not current football, but football legends from the past. In my recent study of quarterbacks from the past, I have overlooked Otto Graham, who may have been the finest quarterback of all time. When he was in the Navy, Paul Brown founded the All-American Football Conference (AAFC). The first person hired to play in the new league was Otto Graham. He had been drafted by the Detroit Lions, but Paul Brown paid him a monthly salary while he was in the Navy and, when he was mustered out of the Navy at the end of World War II, the Lions asked to see his contract with the idea of beating the offer of the Cleveland Browns. Being a man of honor, he said, ‘I have a contract, and I intend to honor it.’ Over a ten-year period, Graham won seven championships. He was named the Most Valuable Player twice in the AAFC and three times in the NFL.
In what could be characterized as the first Super Bowl game, the Cleveland Browns became an NFL team and, on September 16, 1950, they played the Philadelphia Eagles. The Philadelphia Eagles had won the last two NFL championships, and the coaches and players in the NFL said that the worst NFL team could beat the best AAFC team. Final score: Cleveland 35, Philadelphia 10. Graham’s winning percentage for the ten years he played was .849. Next time around, I will give you some more information about Otto Graham. What a fascinating character, and there is much more to be told.
Donald M. Heavrin
Literary Critic for the Old Goats Back To Menu