I never made the local papers for high school sports. I played Frosh Soph football but I didn’t try out for varsity and I didn’t really care. Strange that years later I would replay some of my actions on the field, wondering what would have happened had I tackled that speedy tailback — the one with the tinted eye guard helmet – instead of letting him slip past me and score.
I had some brief successes: I made two picks as a free safety, and I ran one straight back to line of scrimmage and got pummeled by the offensive line. One angry lineman shouted “You’re going down!” as I lay at the bottom of the pile, grinning and holding the ball. What if I had tucked that ball under and ran for the sidelines? Perhaps I might have moved the chains another forty yards up field. Maybe that tailback who beat me earlier would have been forced to run me down. Maybe I would have beat him, and ran it all the way to the end-zone and scored.
It never happened. I didn’t give myself the opportunity to try again. I lost interest. The summer before Junior year saw the advent of a new world filled with drivers licenses, girls, beer, beach bonfires, surfing and guitars, and I hated the thought of going to summer football every day and especially those two weeks of double days in scorching August. I quit. Later, at twenty-five, full of nostalgia from playing fantasy football, I would have given anything to intercept that pass again and run it back one more time.
So I never made the papers for sports, and I never thought I made the papers for anything. Today I found this old piece from 1992 in the Los Angeles Times, a bit about how Nicholas Gustavson got a small scholarship. Strange how the internet works, recording old newspaper articles from the past before the civilian internet existed? Perhaps LA Times was available on Prodigy back in 1992. Did someone scan all this data in later? Probably some guys sitting in front of a scanner, dreaming of their glory days playing football.