THE CRANKY OLD MAN
Random thoughts and stuff from a cranky old man. Humor (maybe), satire, and some politics, mostly stuff from a confused head.
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Wednesday, May 29, 2013
WESTFIELD HIGH SCHOOL REUNION
WESTFIELD HIGH SCHOOL
high school reunion is coming up next year.Many graduates seem excited about this event.I will not attend.I went to the tenth reunion.I went one day late. I took that as an omen and have avoided all
other reunions.Fact is I hated high
school, had few friends, and considered the vast majority of the “popular kids”
the very people who tend to attend reunions, to have been giant assholes kinda snobbish.
don’t need to visit fifty years later and have many of these giantassholes kinda snobbish people who
will be parading around their great lifetime success ask me, “And who were
ago I attended a mini reunion at my old friend Charley (I know…the gay
spelling) “Wink,” “Ditmus,” “Chuck,” Widmer’s home.He was holding the second annual baseball
player reunion with Brian Doyle, Ed Thorne, Rob Schram, and Dwight Davies.I didn’t play baseball, but since Charley (right
guard) and Dwight (quarterback) also played football with me I was invited this
Doyle, Davies, Schram, Widmer, Cranky (Thorne is hiding behind the curtain)
Much of this
reunion revolved around whether someone was out or safe in the final play of a
championship game which they lost.The consensus
was they were “jobbed” by an umpire who did not like their team.Further discussions intimated this ump may
have disliked the team because Chuck, the catcher, had a habit of calling a
high inside fastball and then ducking it so it would hit the ump.This was generally done after Chuck did not
agree with a ball or strike call.
conversation eventually came around to football and in particular our coach
Gary Kehler.Kehler is a legend in the
world of New Jersey High School football.His teams always had winning seasons, and at one stretch he coached his
teams to a record 48 straight wins.That
record is even more remarkable in that he did it with little more than average
talent.He coached many very good
players, but his description of most of his teams was, “We may have been small, but
we were slow!”
Legendary Coach Kehler (RIP)
memories from our team in 1963.
the fact that before every game and practice we were required to take two
salt tablets.During games and practices
we were never allowed to drink water, we could wet our mouths, but were told to
spit it out…(we did cheat a little.) The salt was to replace what was lost from sweating, and it was thought that drinking water would cause cramping.Those
who were overcome by heat exhaustion (myself several times) were sent to a
fence to lose their lunch and then return to much berating and criticism.
Dwight recounts how he visited with the old coach.They talked of all the kids he coached and how
many lives he touched in such a positive way. Dwight asked him, “Is there anything you
regret from all those years?”His
response, “I wish I gave you all some water…I just didn’t know any better…I was
lucky no one died!”
was a classic pregame “chalk talk.”
was explaining how we would block on a run play around the right end.With x’s over o’s in various positions he
directed the blocking pattern and then asked for any questions.Brad Zimmerman a second string lineman asked how
to block a defensive scheme which essentially had nine x’s versus four
o’s.Kehler posted this situation on the
board, stepped back and looked at it for a minute, and then with his best
sarcasm said, “Well Brad we will either get our asses handed to us for a big
loss, or Dwight will fake the handoff and skip around left end untouched for a
touchdown!”Zimmerman never asked another
question during one of these meetings.
memory was the Thanksgiving Plainfield Game, the final game of our senior year.
High was undefeated at 8-0 and was rated number 1 in the state.We were 6-2 and unrated.Plainfield had many “All State” stars,
including a running back, Vic Washington, who would go on to be an all-pro back
for the San Francisco 49ers.
We were over
powered, out skilled and overmatched in all ways except coaching.Plainfield was out coached.Our team had few plays in the playbook. We ran about eight plays, three to the
left, three to the right and two up the middle.We had two passing plays, both coming off play action.Ten plays, but we ran them all really well.We managed to score 14 points; two extra
points coming on kicks which no other teams at that time were able to do very
successfully.Most teams ran for their
held Plainfield to two touchdowns.Kehler assigned linebacker Jim Minnow to exclusively follow Vic
Washington.Their favorite play was to
send Vic up the middle on a fake run and then pass it to him.Jim “fell” for the fake every time and
tackled Vic so he could never get open for the pass.Whenever Vic got the ball he also got
Jim!He was shut down and frustrated.
Plainfield did score their touchdowns we shut down their extra point attempts with
a defense called “All In.”Plainfield
always ran for the extra point.They
always ran straight up the middle with their power formation.Kehler decided to shut down that play by
sending all eleven players against the middle run.Plainfield did not adjust.We won 14-12.
great memories, great company.I don’t
think the fiftieth reunion with all the super successful “popular kids” could
be any better.