1928 - Alderson High School - 1968



Education, Alderson Style II

Jim Jones

In the last issue we determined that in this world I just wasn't going to make it on the strength of my manual dexterity. Now we had to face the next problem; how do you pay for a higher education? The easy way, which I have not been inclined to pursue in this lifetime, was to seek financial aid. My family had what I considered to be average Alderson resources. It was nice growing up in Alderson when it came to finances. Not only did we have no money, I didn't even know anyone who did. Someone may have had money, but they didn't show it to me. I didn't consider us poor because we ate three meals a day. I've got to admit being the recipient of a few hand-me-downs; but shucks, after using them, it gave me a good feeling to be able to pass them on to others who also had a need. This was being Alderson people in the Nineteen Fifties. They cared for each other, took care of each other. (Don't get me wrong, this doesn't mean that we didn't put a snot bump on each other, if it was absolutely necessary.)

We have determined that I'm not about to pick up any easy college money. So what was this High School Sophomore's plan B to afford him a higher education? People had told me that whatever you did should be something you liked and I knew just what I enjoyed the most. (Got to tell you, at this juncture, I must not have heard much about girls.) It was athletics. That was what I enjoyed more than anything else so why not let my athleticism further my learning. My eight and ninth grades had been spent in Columbus, Ohio where, at that time, there was no football on the middle school level. They had youth leagues that grouped us according to our age and weight. I participated in a league where I weighed within a couple pounds of the maximum. Felt I had distinguished myself and it just did not occur to me that High School or College ball would be any different. I just hadn't realized there was any significance when Coach weighed me in for the coming season at one hundred and twenty pounds. This didn't bother me one iota because I had previously watched Coleman Highlander. When I went on the field with these seasoned veterans of Greenbrier Valley Football I was sure to be a star and have those scholarships pouring in.

I had made a couple good hits by the second week of pre-school practice when I began wondering why Coach didn't start working me with the first team. I thought there must be some way to impress this guy. There was a big tailback on the first team that was just rooting and snorting and running over everyone so he was the one that I needed to lay that big hit on. I was occupying the right side linebacker position when Coach started running this star tailback on thirty-eight and thirty-nine which was off the opposite side from the one I was defending. You know, they were probably just running away from me so I would not make them look bad. They ran their plays a time or two and I stayed in the area I was supposed to defend. If I was to make a favorable impression on Coach I decided that I would show my speed, power and hostility by going on over and placing that big ole bang on his star. When the play began I stayed in my zone long enough to determine they weren't running forty or forty-one (wingback around my side) and took a bead on this big running back. Unfortunately, my angle and timing were great, or was it that of this thunderous back? I read somewhere that the classic tackle for this situation was to extend my body forward, placing the head just past his crotch with the right shoulder into his left hip, wrapping both arms around this upper legs and rolling with the runner's momentum. Evidently Mr. David B. Shields had read the same article about tackling. It must have gone on to tell the running back what he was to do to counter this fierce technique because he definitely did not follow my script. Instead of running into my tackle that big rascal turned back into my body and knocked me "a-- over tin cup." When I finely came out of orbit, descending into a violent landing, (Boom!) my left arm knocked my shoulder out of joint. Intuitively I knew this did not feel real good. Being an ole Alderson Boy, I didn't consider quitting or even telling someone I was hurt. I just got up, took my left hand and clutched my jersey to somewhat immobilize the dislocated shoulder. After a couple more plays they mixed things up by running Jim Meadows on a flat pass route into my zone. I went after him with the same classic style, having only one arm to wrap this time. Skeeter was much more cooperative about being tacked than David. The only problem was we came crashing down with our combined weight on my wounded shoulder. This resulted in the fracture of my left humerus, at the bottom of the ball. It also turned the broken ball sideways. I tried to hang in there for another play or two but I just wasn't very manly. Decided to risk walking over to Coach and told him that I had hurt my arm. He immediately asks if I had fallen down. I'm uncertain of my answer but I sure had been down, more than once, and suddenly. Back in those times Coach was everything to us, including team Physician. He took my arm and stretched it out straight from my body and then began rotating it. It didn't come off (I got to tell you that this smarted, but you remember that you couldn't tell Coach anything hurt.) so he told me to go on up to the locker room. When I got up there, by myself, I couldn't even get my jersey off, much less my shoulder pads. After some time, Hank Ayers wondered up there and jerked off my uniform. I showered, dressed and returned to the field. After standing around for a few series of plays Coach came over and told me that I could go to Doctor Cavendish if I wanted but the school insurance wouldn't pay for negative x-rays.

You know if Coach wasn't concerned about my "falling down," guess I must not have been either. When practice was over I sauntered on down to my second home (Beth's Beauty Shop) to watch American Bandstand with Barry. As those cool cats in Philly did the stroll my shoulder continued to rock 'n roll, ache, turn colors and swell up. My arm got bigger than my shirtsleeve. I knew that I wasn't Kenny Page or Redbird Knapp (they had stovepipes for arms) and something was strange in there. I talked to Barry about how I was going to pay for a negative x-ray; he thought I should chance it. To shorten this saga up a bit, Dr. Cavendish declared it broken, Dr. Prelman tried to set it three or four times at Ronceverte Hospital prior to my spending twenty-three days in traction at Charleston Memorial.

Do you think this was some Education, Alderson Style, about not acquiring a scholarship all that easily? Or was it a lesson in how tough Alderson High School football could be? My prospects were not looking any too bright.

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