Monday, February 21, 2011

Vintage Gridiron Boys

My Mom gave me this photo several months ago. This is the Varsity Football team from Stroudsburg High School in Stroudsburg PA,circa 1923. The tall lanky Gent in the back row center is my maternal Grandfather.
Grandad used to tell me stories about High School football in those days: No face masks, padded leather helmets,flimsy shoulder pads,and guys playing both offense and defense the whole game. This was hard-nosed, bloody knuckle and cracked rib football. When Grandad and I would watch a game in the mid-70's he would almost always make a comment that these modern players were candy-asses given the amount of protection they enjoyed from the modern equipment.
Grandad was a tough old bastard who suffered thru the loss of his Father at an early age and was just out of College when the Depression hit. He made spare money as a teenager by trapping muskrat and beaver in the marshes and ponds of the Poconos and selling the pelts, he hunted deer and grouse to supplement the food for the table and still managed to finish Penn State. He liked Bourbon, shooting craps and Lucky Strikes. He listened to baseball on the radio and read voraciously, he liked hiking and woodcraft and collecting American Indian artifacts.
Grandad passed some of these traditions and skills down to me I suppose. He taught me gun safety and the lore of Field and Stream. I consider myself lucky to have had such a mentor....particularly glad that he lived through 4 seasons of Football clad only in the stuff we see in this picture.


vir beātum said...

Sounds like quite the role model. If only every man was so lucky.

By the way, if you fancy a bit of cracked-rib football, I recommend having a look at the rugby (union or league). Both codes shun body armour, and the tackling is intense. Oh, and all 15 play the entire 80 minutes, providing their blood stays on the insides.

James said...

A good man. You were lucky indeed.

Preppy 101 said...

This is a wonderful post honoring a wonderful man. xoxo

Main Line Sportsman said...

VB-I always loved watching Rugby when I was in college.
James-I was lucky...after my Grandmother died he lived with us about 6 months each year so I got to spend a lot of time with him.
101-Thanks for the compliment!

ADG said...

Brilliant yet again.

JMW said...

How wonderful to have had him in your life and to have learned so much from him. Love old photos like that.

Main Line Sportsman said...

Thanks ADG-High praise from a Blog-master such as you

James-I bet your G-kids feel the same about you

JMW-Stay tuned-more photos of this nature are in the offing.

Savannah Adams said...

I agree with vir beātum. Obviously, Rugby is somewhat very similar with football, minus all the protection and gears. I believe your grandad is one tough man - both in that football field and life. That photo is very vintage, no doubt about that.