Sunday, November 8, 2009
Paul Martin, Kempner Stadium & A Lost Glove
I've spent a lot of time recently collecting info on Gator football. B. I. Webb has sent me several good pictures of a practice session held in November, 1950 on the Sugar Land HS football field (later Kempner Stadium). The pictures are fascinating for several reasons - not the least because they show the football field in a configuration I'd never seen before. There's no track, and a wooden fence surrounds the field.
I've chosen a picture that shows Paul Martin, a tackle on the '50 team, with the east-side stands in the background. I remember those stands very well because they remained in place into the late '50s.
My brother reminded me of an incident that happened when we were little. We went to a game with my father in either the '56 or '57 season, I can't remember which. Bruce was 4 or 5, and I was 6 or 7. At some point during the game we told him we had to go to the toilet. Some of you may remember that the whizzers were on the north side of the stands - off to the left of this picture. My dad didn't want to take us all the way to the toilet - either because it was too much trouble or he didn't want to miss a lot of the game - so, he took us under the stands where the green 'X' appears over Paul's right shoulder.
It was cold that night so we were wearing jackets, caps and gloves. We crept into the dark under the stands while our dad watched - one eye on us and the other on what he could see of the game through the stands. It seems like there were dewberry vines under there because it was a struggle to take care of our business.
When we finished, we walked back out of the dark toward our dad. He started helping Bruce put on his gloves and said, "Where's your other glove?" Well, he lost it in the vines under the stands. My dad saw right away he couldn't find that glove - too dark, too many vines, too much effort. He said something like, "Oh, forget it. Let's go watch the game."
I didn't care for his casual approach to personal possessions. Many 5-year-old children have a strong sense of integrity about things, and I was one of them. I told my father that we needed to look for that missing glove. He said no, and I could tell he meant it, so the best I could do was make him give me a solemn promise to look for the glove the next morning when it was daylight. I don't think anybody knew about this little drama - nobody sitting in the stands above us or walking behind the stands paid us any attention.
The next day we drove up to the stadium, walked right to the spot and found the glove. I felt vindicated. That's probably why I remember the incident.