1928 - Alderson High School - 1968

 

 

EARLY DEFEAT, HOPEFUL BENEFIT
by Richard Hughes

MANY YEARS AGO, 1961, I SUFFERED AN EARLY LIFE DEFEAT, WHICH AT THE TIME SEEMED A TRAGEDY, BUT PROVED TO BE A WONDERFUL LESSON.

NOW IN 1961 OUR FOOTBALL TEAM WITH 24 RAW RURAL BOYS LED BY THE GREATEST FOOTBALL COACH EVER (MY OPINION) WENT UNDEFEATED BONE CRUSHING THEIR OPPOSITION AS THEY RAN OVER THEM.

GALLOWAY, WAS THE MAN WHO MADE IT POSSIBLE; HOWEVER, HE HAD GOOD SUPPORT FROM HUGHES, AN ALL STATE END AND BAKER, ANOTHER ALL STATER EARY, MCCLASTER HOLIDAY, MCCLUNG, MCLAUGHLIN HARRIAH, MOODY, WHITLEY, BAKER, SMITH, THE TWO MORGANS- RAY AND ROY, BENNETT, FALLS GODBY, BOYER FLESHMAN, PETTIGREW, AND SNYDER.

THE GAME THAT PUT US IN THE STATE CHAMPIONSHIP WAS AGAINST HINTON PLAYED ON HINTON'S FIELD AND WAS ESSENTIAL IN GETTING US TO MY TRAGEDY. IT WAS IN THAT GAME I MADE UP A NEW PLAY AND WITH ALLENíS COOPERATION I CAUGHT THE PASS THAT LITERALLY WON THAT GAME.

NOW FOR THE STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS OF WEST VIRGINIA, TWO WEEKS LATER ON THE SAME HINTON FIELD A TEAM OF MAYBE 65 TO 100 ENEMIES CAME ONTO THE FIELD AND DID JUMPING JACKS AS THEY FACED US.

THE GAME STARTED, I WAS NOT PLAYING WELL AS USUAL, BUT IT DID NOT SEEM TO MATTER, WE GOT A TWO TOUCHDOWN LEAD, AND I APPEARED IRRELEVANT. THEN THEY STRUCK BACK HARD AND WE WERE HAVING A TOUGH TIME. STILL EARLY IN THE 4TH QUARTER WE DROVE TO THE 22ND YARD LINE OF WINFIELD. WE COULDNíT SEEM TO RUN ON THESE GUYS DOWN CLOSE, ALLEN ON THIRD DOWN CALLED A PASS TO ME. AS I BROKE FROM THE LINE THEY HAD TWO MEN WHERE I HAD PLANNED TO GO , SO I TURNED STRAIGHT DOWN FIELD ACROSS THE GOAL LINE, ALLEN FIRED THAT BALL RIGHT ON THE MONEY, I HAD THE BALL AND THEN DROPPED IT RIGHT IN THEIR END ZONE! RIGHT THEN I KNEW I HAD LOST THE STATE CHAMPIONSHIP, ALL OUR WORK, SACRIFICE, AND DISCIPLINE FOR NOTHING.

I WAS A BETTER PROPHET THEN AN END, THAT DAY. WINFIELD MARCHED DOWN THE FIELD SCORED AND WON THE GAME. I FELT THE DEVASTATION OF TOTAL DEFEAT AND LOST EVERYTHING WE STRIVED FOR WAS CRUSHED BY MY FAILURE, THE ONLY SIMILAR EXPRESSIONS IN MY LIFE WAS WHEN THEY TOLD ME MY DAD HAD DIED WHEN I WAS NINE YEARS OLD. IT WAS TERRIBLE, I DIDNíT TALK TO ANYONE.

HERE WE WERE COUNTRY BOYS, RURAL MEN ALL OF US WITH THE GOAL OF TOTAL VICTORY AND NOW THANKS TO ME TOTAL DEFEAT.

THE NEXT FOUR OR FIVE DAYS WERE CRUCIAL TO ME. I GENUINELY THOUGHT ABOUT GIVING UP! GRADUALLY WITH MY FRIENDS HELP AND MY OWN MIND I DETERMINED TO GO FORWARD.

THIS WAS A MAJOR LESSON OF LIFE, BUT IT TOOK MANY MORE YEARS AND EXPERIENCES BEFORE I BECAME WHAT I NEEDED TO BE. MOST OF MY FORMER TEAMMATES I HAVENíT STAYED CLOSE TO, TWO OF THEM ARE BEYOND FRIENDS; ANYWAY TO THE PEOPLE OF ALDERSON WHO ARE STILL ALIVE, TO MY TEAMMATES AND MOST IMPORTANTLY TO MY COACH, WHO IS FAR ABOVE, I WANT TO APOLOGIZE FOR THAT DROP, AND WOULD LIKE TO THINK THAT TODAY, DUE TO MATURITY, I WOULD HAVE CAUGHT THAT PASS.