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You Can Look It Up

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You Can Look It Up

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John Heyn

Date

December 31, 2014

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John Heyn

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November 16, 1958.

On Sunday, November 16, 1958 the LA Rams invaded City Stadium in Green Bay, Wisconsin. There, Babe Parilli would lead rookies Jim Taylor, Jerry Kramer, Dan Currie, and Ray Nitschke into combat. But that is not our story.

Our story takes place the previous afternoon 50 miles to south under a cold, dark, and low mid-November sky in an empty lot in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Geese honked invisibly overhead as they rode the jetstream south. Beneath them two figures nose to nose, a football between them. Myself in the gold helmet of the Packers, my brother in the Rams’ golden horns. We were nine and eight.

This was before facemasks and wind-chill indexes. One-on-one, no pads. If you didn’t have a running game you didn’t play.

It was dark now and I could see my mother through the kitchen window setting the table. When she called us the game was over. I had to score on this play.

I snapped up the ball, drove a shoulder into my brother, spun to the left and focused on the sidewalk/ endzone less than fifteen yards way. My brother went for the headlock crawling onto my back using a legwhip trying to take out my knee and get me to the ground.

I could see the mechanic at the Shell station across Union Avenue watching us. He had stepped out from under the Hudson on the hoist and leaned against an oil drum to--I think--laugh at me while I staggered, still in the headlock, toward the sidewalk. As my brother punched at the ball with his free arm I allowed it to squirt free. He jumped off my back to get the ball but I I got there first, batted it forward and fell on it as I rolled over the curb and into the street. Touchdown! (The old Holy Roller trick twenty years before Chilton’s Dave Casper made it famous.)

I could hear my mother calling us in.

I lost that game 20-7. How did the Pack do the next day? You can look it up.