What happened to “rah” and “yea?” Remember when high school cheerleaders just looked cute in their little uniforms and danced around a little bit and waved their pom-poms?
Frosty won that honored position all four high school years, Her routine was: “Water in the bathtub, pull out the plug. Down goes Gordo: glug, glug, glug. Yea Bulldogs!”
Now, especially in the college ranks, you have to be a gymnast or a contortionist to get the job. Now they make pyramids and throw people up in the air and such. Amazing!
And turning to football, let’s hear a word of praise for the subs and the scrubs, the second and third teamers. Every team has its stars, like we had Demps and Ed and Bradley and Junebug and Olen and Paul and Tom and John, et al., the first stringers.
Demps was a natural leader, he led the calisthenics that we always did at the beginning of practice, the push-ups and the sit-ups and all of that stuff, and the running around the field a couple of times. He actually seemed to enjoy all that torture.
We knew where we stood. We were cannon fodder, grist for the mill. But, … we were essential. Yes! Those first teamers had to have someone to practice on! If we were about to play Gordo, for example, we’d be Gordo, the team on which they’d try out their plays.
Say, for instance, that they wanted to try out this run over left tackle. Heh, heh, heh. Me’n Dupree would be waiting for him. No matter that he was the biggest, toughest player on either side. Me’n Dupree loved those plays when I was supposed to hit him low and Dupree was supposed to hit him high. I understand they’ve cut out what they call spearing? That was my main weapon. Oh, I’d spear him if I possibly could.
I actually got in a real game one time. We were leading Palmetto 80 to 0 with two minutes left. Coach said, “All right, Sanders, go in.” We were kicking off. Their returner came around my end, open field, nobody else in sight, I somehow got wrapped around him and dragged him down.
On the very next play, they fumbled, and I managed to get through the pile and cover the ball. The referee had to call in extra help to get it away from me.
Speaking of subs, my brother-in-law was a very good high school football player many years ago. For some unknown reason, my team had Florence High School on its schedule. My, my. A night game. A first for our team. Fed us in a cafeteria. Another first. Three members of the Florence team were All-State.
As you would expect, Florence was mopping up the field with our boys. Finally, our first string running back, Will Hicks, staggered over to the bench and said,” Coach, why don’t you put in some of them scrubs? They need the experience.”
The main thing to keep in mind, fellow scrubs, is that you fill a very necessary position. Those first string people have to have somebody to practice on. Who knows, they might retire your spot on the bench, as they did mine.
A very touching moment. Rah. Yea.
Bob Sanders is a veteran local radio personality, columnist, author and raconteur of note. He can be reached at bobbypsanders@gmail.com.