In 1958, my friend Bill Hambrick decided to play football. The rule was simple: If you stayed out for the season, you got a letter. He knew that he would only get to play when Manual had a huge lead, but that didn’t bother him. In the second game of the year, Manual played North of Vernon, Indiana. It looked like Manual would win by a lot, and Bill would probably get a chance to play. I went to the game with somebody, but I don’t remember who it was. I may have had a date, but I’m reasonably sure I would have remembered the lady if I had taken a date, thus I think I must have gone to the game with one of my roadies.
As expected, Manual won 40-13, and Bill got to play quite a bit. Sometime in the forth quarter, a skirmish broke out, and there seemed to be some open hostility toward the Manual team. While I don’t remember the specific details, I have a vivid recollection of going to get something to eat after the game. When the game was over, I went to a small country restaurant in the city. I ordered a grilled cheese and some fries. A grilled cheese is my standard in a strange country restaurant, or city restaurants for that matter. It is hard to get sick eating bread and cheese. As I sat there waiting for my food to arrive, several disgruntled residents of North Vernon arrived with an assortment of weapons, including a shovel and a pitchfork. The largest member of the contingency asked if I had been to the game. I said, “Yes.” The next question, “Are you from Louisville?” I said, “Yes.” My host suggested that I needed to get back home immediately. He also suggested that I pay for the meal that I had not received. Understanding that cowardice is the better part of valor, I agreed, got the hell out of there, and I paid for the meal. Later, when I was talking to Bill about the game, he said he had a lot of fun, and when he was in a pile of players on the ground, he would pinch the heck out of a North Vernon player if he got a chance. He thought that that might have prompted the skirmish on the field. I thought it might have brought out the pitchfork at the restaurant