Minneapolis Morning Tribune
CHICAGO—It is a pleasant walk from the hotel to Soldier Field if the weather is moderate, and it is fun to come out ahead of the football crowd to chat with other early arrivals in the breeze which sweeps the promenade deck.
So you stroll along and find yourself behind two large human beings who may be recent high school graduates and, as it turns out, are.
The one on the left is as broad as the rear of a Michigan Avenue bus. The one on the right is lean and tapering and tall. Their conversation goes along in this fashion:
August 28, 1955
"Boy, the town is jumpin' with coaches, hey."
"Yeah, and are they hunting. I got five offers before breakfast. The first one was funny. This fellow said, 'We can only do what the rules allow.— ' "
"For gosh sakes who was that?"
"Well, you know they all start out that way; but this one stuck to it. He said, 'You know we can only do what the rules allow. We can give you tuition, board, room, a little spending money and books.' "
"Books? What do you want with books?"
"Well, you know how Coach Herman used to treat fumblers. He made them carry a football around school all day. Maybe this guy doesn't have enough footballs so he is having his fumblers carry books. They're harder to handle. How many offers did you get?"
"Well, there aren't so many basketball coaches in town today, but some of them were around. One said, 'How tall are you?' I said, 'Six ten and a quarter.' He said, 'For every half inch over six eight we give you 100 gallons of gas for your motorboat.' I said, 'Where do I get the motorboat?' He said, 'You get that at six eight. You've had it coming since you were 15.' So I said, 'That's 450 gallons of gas.' He said, 'No, only 400. At six ten and a quarter you have only four half inches over six eight.' I said, 'Don't I get anything for that quarter inch?' He said, 'No.' I said, 'Why you cheapskate. I wouldn't go to your school if you could teach me to read.' "
"You'll get a better deal than that if you wait."
"Sure, I will. I'm holding out until I can get a job for my old man."
"What does your old man do now?"
"What does he want to do?"
"Nothing; but I figure he should get something for it."
The football kid said, "I got one offer that sounds pretty good. This guy said, 'What kind of grades you got?' I said, 'Well, I'm out of high school, ain't I?' He said, 'I know, but are your grades anywhere near C plus?' I said, 'A little closer to D minus.' He said, 'Well, then we gotta make other arrangements. We'll just have a little quiz contest. How tall are you?' 'Six one.' He said, 'You now have $50. Want to try for $100? How much do you weigh?' I said, 'Two thirty-five.' He said, 'You now have $100. Want to try for $200? How many points is a touchdown worth?' I said, 'Seven points.' He looked kind of sad and said, 'Well, we gotta start all over again.' I said, 'Not with me, you don't. I never missed an extra point in my life. It's seven points with me around.' He said, 'You now have $400.'
"I said, 'I thought I was trying for $200.' He said, 'Man, do you realize we lost three games last year by a point apiece? If you're a place kicker, this old grad who's taking this keen, fatherly interest in you, messages me you now have $400. Want to try for $800?' I said, 'Sure.' He said, 'Lovely weather, ain't it?' I said, 'Yeah, what about it?' He said, 'You now have $800.'
"Then he said, 'If your team has three touchdowns and the other team has one and all extra points are kicked, what is the score?' I said, 'Coach, I never was very good at figures, but I'll take a stab at it.' He said, 'Never mind, just tell me who wins.' I said, 'I guess we do.' And he hollers, 'That is correct. You now have $1,600.'
"So then he said, 'Well, now you get the idea of how this old grad wants to work. Any time you feel real sharp, just drop around and he'll play this quiz game with you.' I said, 'Coach, get off your knees. You got yourself a middle guard.' "