In Great Falls, Football Was King, and I Was Royalty for a Day
What you're reading today was inspired by the new song by Chis Young. In "Famous Friends," he talks about friends that he grew up with and some of the things that they accomplished.
I was going through photo albums over the weekend and ran across this picture from what was a legendary football game, in our minds anyway.
Growing up in Great Falls, football was king. C.M. Russell High School won the state AA football title more times than I can count, and on Sundays, my group of friends would get together and play tackle football at the College Of Great Falls. After graduation, most of us moved to some other town, but we would always come home for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
One Thanksgiving our gang was having beers together and bragging about how good we all were. When "Morse" called me out.
"You always ran outta bounds when you had the ball."
Which was true. It was because I was the youngest of our group and had not started growing like my friends all did. I only weighed 130 pounds and didn't want to get crushed by "Morse." He was the best athlete in our group. He was big, strong, and every tackle was important to him. He wasn't just tackling you. He was encouraging you to drop the next ball thrown your way.
So, we decide to play when we were all back at Christmas. But we had a problem. The college had built a building where we used to play. So, we moved our game to the old Paris Gibson field, which was better because it had the actual markings on the field so you could see when you were in the end zone. Because sometimes you might still get hit when you thought you scored a touchdown and your team was winning by too much.
My best friend in the group was "Monsos." Since we were friends we would only throw the ball to each other. "Jack" was my neighbor but he was on the other team. So he was the enemy for an afternoon.
I can't remember for sure but I seem to recall winning the game, and I had over 400 yards passing. I cracked "Morse's" ribs because I didn't run out of bounds anymore. He may have been hurtin', but I earned his respect athletically.
Now "Monsos" is a professor in Missoula. Jack is still running Godfather's in the Heights. "Morse" was last seen about 25 years ago and isn't on Facebook. So, I don't know what happened to him. None of us knew that that was going to be the last game we played together.
The picture was taken by Deb O'Connell who moved to Canada and married a karate instructor. They have four sons.
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