The doors to Coach’s office flew open and out stepped...a lady in an ugly black dress...
“My name is Viola Swamp,” said the lady. “And I am here to get results.”
from Miss Nelson has a Field Day
by Harry Allard illustrated by James Marshall
I did not grow up watching football. No one in my family played the game, but I have memories just the same.
Ages ago, I worked at the Wilson factory in Ada, Ohio. At that time, we produced soccer balls, volleyballs and many different styles of footballs. My experiences were varied. My first job was washing volleyballs. I was bored out of my mind. Before I went totally crazy, I asked for a transfer and began lacing rubber footballs. One batch I laced were signed by Terry Bradshaw. Yes, it was a long time ago. No, he didn’t actually have a little office in Ada. Lots of people believed me, though, when I said he did.
Lacing came near the end of a many-step process. I used a tool called an awl. It had a largish eye at the tip. The other end of the metal shaft fit into a wooden handle. I threaded the eye with a long leather lace that I used to close the opening. I don’t remember if the laces were cut in another step, or if they came out even every time. Hmmm.
The factory paid on piece-work. I got pretty good. The fastest women on the lacing line could finish over 350 footballs in a day. I rarely got past 300, but reached that goal on occasion. My fingers became very strong, but it was a job that required a lot of sitting still so nothing else did.
When my girls were in high school, they played in the band. The school is small enough to require student musicians to perform in marching band and concert band. The schedules were arranged to not overlap. Of course, I didn’t miss many football games, but I was there to see the band. Not being attentive to the game, I missed a lot of what happened on the field. When I mentioned to my husband that the teams seemed to be traveling in the wrong direction toward their goal, I learned about how they switch directions at half-time. I guess I was distracted by the band. Imagine!!
Remember Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction? Well, I missed that too. My daughter had just moved from New Jersey to about five miles away from me. We shopped for a new toilet seat, some curtains and other household necessities on the day of the game and got home just in time turn on the TV. We filled closets, dresser drawers and kitchen cabinets during the first half of the game. We were really only interested in the commercials and the half-time show. I remember being in the hallway during half-time, and the announcer saying something that made us look up from our work.
We were too late for Janet’s bare breast, but I’m happy to report my daughter and I are still comfortable baring our souls to each other.
Enjoy your memories, football and otherwise!