Thunder Butte

July 04, 2006

Lemmon High School Days

The Ford racing machine [I mentioned in an earlier post] met a tragic end, but I no sooner got back to town from my big auto accident than a sweet, pretty girl was standing in front of my home, where I lived with my sister Cece. She was talking to Cece and she was introduced to me as Vivian Kusler. Vivian’s father was Doctor Sandbo, who was coincidentally Cece’s family doctor. The next morning Vivian and I walked to school together.

I was very impressed with Vivian, to say the least. First of all, I hadn’t known any girls before this, and secondly, she was slight, feminine, refined, and very pretty. She also was a senior. Since I was only a freshman, that automatically made her a superior person in my eyes. Vivian and I were very close—you might say confidantes—for the rest of the school year. There were other girls, usually seniors. I have never figured out what [the interest in me, a mere freshman] was about. Perhaps it was no more than the fact that I played football and I was pretty big. People were smaller then, I believe. We were considered a large football team. The line averaged 185 pounds and we were larger than most of our competitors. Well, along with being pretty big, I was often told that I was cute, even pretty. Needless to say, that used to make me fighting mad and led to numerous skirmishes on and off the school grounds. Finally, all of the guys became my friends and I got along very well in school.

High school was some problem for me, academically. Some of the teachers I had in grade school were unable to understand simple long division, or fractions. As a result I had a miserable time with math.

Since I was always working, or playing football, or out for track, band, etc., I didn’t ever get much sleep. I spent a lot of time sleeping in class. The high school annuals even had pictures of me sleeping at my desk and titled, “The Sleeping Beauty". This didn’t endear me to a lot of my teachers.

The football coach figured me for a trouble maker, almost from day one. He had kids on the team who were altar boys on Sunday, were straight "A" students, and played a straight game of football that matched their other virtues. One of these was Bob Jangula. Bob and I traveled on different trolleys. Bob was made captain of the football team at an early age. He was the quarterback and he just did everything by the numbers. I, on the other hand, wanted to be a one man band. I didn’t understand teamwork, or the numbers game. I took great comfort from knocking down kicked balls, breaking up plays, flying tackles, rolling blocks, anything that was rough and tumble and didn’t require me to know very much.

When we played Mobridge, I was playing center. When we had the ball, the defensive guard would hit me in the nose with his fist, when I was bent over to hike the ball. After this happened about four times, instead of passing the ball, I stood up and knocked the guy cold. In spite of the fact that I was soaked with blood from the guy poking me in the nose, I was taken out of the game and suspended for two games. That was somewhat typical of my football career.

Whenever that damn ball got near me, I would take it and head for the goal line. The problem was, at that time, only the two ends and the four backfield players were eligible to run with the ball. I put in my time after school, faithfully for three years, then after another slight from the coach, I just left the team.

The Ag teacher, Mr. White, started a boxing team at this time and I was his star performer, but that is another story [covered in my preceding posts].

--John Crowley
Mike Crowley Tuesday, July 04, 2006


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