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.