| || |
The Rare Huddles Since; "My First Million" Part 8
October 22, 2010 - Charlie Landis
The Rare Huddles Since
The other great discovery was the misunderstanding that somehow getting on with your life after football would not involve an ongoing reminiscence of your senior season. Some of this distance is due to the simple fact that sometimes life’s currents are so strong that you forget where you set sail. That’s what happened in my case. The coaches are now long gone and Williamsport itself has changed. The last echoes of Dick Zimmerman for me are heard at The Triangle Tavern and the south end of the stadium overlooking the field. That spot matters to many WAHS graduates. You can go to Facebook.com and see pictures looking north at various times of the year. Those memories will fade for me if the Marcellus Shale gas money glamorizes the field and they stop serving spaghetti at The Triangle.
But there were a few great moments over the years that reminded me 1977 mattered. Among them was the opportunity to attend the funeral for Ronny Baity’s dad and the funeral for my dad. Ed Baity himself was a famed WHS football player and his family memorialized that fact with a poster of some of his pictures. Ronny and I visited at his poster and despite his grief, he chose to share what a thrill it was to play on Tim’s orphan teams.
At my dad’s funeral, his friends made the point to tell me how proud he was of my participation, especially after the Altoona game. A year later, as we cleaned our home on Dewey Avenue, I found my senior football card with my dad’s work clothes. The simple fact is that there was something that mattered with this team of misfits. Had I not been pre-occupied with my mortgage payments, I probably would not have required Scott Lehotsky to confirm all this. Scott kept sending me emails that included facts and insights from someone who cared. By about the third one, I felt like the bloodhound who kept asking Bugs Bunny where to find the hare. So displaying the skills that kept me from the Ivy League, I only needed three weeks to decide to write all this down.
I see Pat Weber every year around white tail deer season and it’s great. Steve Parlante and I ate our subs at Joey’s in the 1980’s and I would do that all again. Tony D and I caught up one night in Williamsport and I saw Brian Hancock at a friend’s wedding. But I think that’s it. For me the biggest loss in this experience isn’t any form of recognition, that all goes to Tim and the great teams that followed us, but rather how did it manage to walk into the darkness of our lives and remain almost forgotten.
My football career was on the list of things that did not survive the Carter administration. It ended my sophomore season at Susquehanna University where despite an interception against Lycoming College and a break-out game against Juniata, I was generally overmatched after losing my commitment to the game as a result of another Come to Jesus moment. My professor in geology reminded me that while I was making A’s on my exams I had yet to make the draft boards of any NFL team. “It’s time to decide, Charlie.” With that advice, my sophomore season would remind anyone of the last scene in the movie about the 1919 Chicago Black Sox where the fans were questioning if they were seeing one of the banned players on the field. It would have gone like this “Is that Charlie out there?”, “Naw, I saw Charlie play and that’s not him.” That’s how it ends for those of us who choose our careers in geology or medicine before declaring for the NFL draft.
And that gets me back to where all of this started. What do you say about a 4-5-2 team? The best I can say came from a man facing certain and immediate death in the winter of 1978. My uncle was diagnosed with an aggressive terminal disease that required blood transfusions from his family, mine in the early mornings before school. One morning with me, he overrode his comments on the State College game with “you boys sure had this town talking for a while”.
We sure did.
No comments posted for this article.
Post a Comment