When man-made satellites course through space and nuclear submarines sail under the North Pole and the Senators win the pennant (if only in the movies), it's getting harder and harder these days for anything to be really surprising. So it was a twofold pleasure recently to learn of one thing which is still as delightfully surprising as ever—an old-fashioned surprise party.
Only moments after Keith Mets of Holtville, California had learned of his selection as a member of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's 1958 Silver Anniversary All-America, he and Mrs. Mets received an invitation to Holtville's annual Rotary ladies' night dinner. Ready as always to join in civic celebration, Mr. and Mrs. Mets arrived promptly on the evening of December 19 at the Imperial County Fairgrounds' Ben Hulse Auditorium.
The hall looked less than feminine but more than festive. In the center of the stage stood a 10-foot-by-6-foot replica of the Silver Anniversary goal posts, flanked by two huge SPORTS ILLUSTRATED covers bearing magnified likenesses of Mets 25 years ago and Mets today. Pennants and colors of the University of Arizona, where he won his letter, decked the walls. Of Holtville's 3,202 population, a good 10% were on hand. In true This Is Your Life style, Mets was jubilantly greeted by his college roommate, his coach and a mob of his former teammates and Sigma Chi fraternity brothers. There were members of the Future Farmers of America, the county government, the Imperial Valley Farmers Association and hosts of people from other organizations with reason to honor the honored guest.
This night, it was clear, did not belong to the ladies. Neither did that day, as a matter of fact, nor its morrow. For, by governor's proclamation, December 19th was Keith Mets Day in Arizona; and likewise, by mayor's proclamation, was the 20th in Holtville.
January 26, 1959
Said Keith Mets, Wildcat tackle, class of '34, Imperial Valley rancher and civic leader, as he finally made his way through an admiring crowd, "This beats any day on the football field I've ever seen."