What a refreshing story of small-town life and the importance of simply being able to play the game.
RANDY SNOW, GALESBURG, MICH.
Six to a Side
I thoroughly enjoyed playing six-man football (Six Shooters, Oct. 28) in South Dakota during the late 1950s. It is a fast-moving, high-scoring, hard-hitting game. I wish we still had it in the upper Midwest. Although I've grown to love the 11-man game over the years, my first reaction to it was the same as the one expressed in your article: It's boring by comparison. I've been conditioned not to talk about six-man with my friends, who either think I'm pulling their leg or have heard about it but don't consider it "real" football.
NELS OYEN, Woodbury, Minn.
Your article on six-man football brought back memories of western Nebraska, where after World War II many small schools played six-man. The town of Morrill, in which I grew up, belonged to a conference that played only six-man. If I remember correctly, if a team was ahead by 45 points, the game was automatically over.
ACE HALSTEAD, Santa Rosa, Calif.
? If a team is leading by 45 points at halftime or anytime thereafter, the game is ended.—ED.
In your description of the rules, there was no mention of the dropkick. I went to a small Nebraska high school at which six-man was played, and I recall that the dropkick was used in field goal situations to obviate the need for a placekick holder. Since six-man was relatively new then, drop-kicking may have been an early peculiarity, dispensed with over time.
ROBERT P. CHANEY, Carlsbad, Calif.
? The dropkick is still used. In extra point situations, it is worth two points, versus one for a pass or a run.—ED.
I played on a team like the Zephyrs from 1944 through '47, the Gober ( Texas) High Plowboys. We, too, operated on a tight budget. We had no showers or dressing room for the visiting team because our gym had burned down and was not rebuilt for a few years. We wore no face masks or numbers on our jerseys, and no stats were kept except for the score, but we didn't care. We had a lot of fun.
ROBERT MCCULLOUGH, San Bernardino, Calif.
I am a football coach at a small high school in Nebraska, and we play eight-man football. I disagree with your statement that "eight-man football survives today, but with fewer programs than six-man." In Nebraska alone there are 114 schools that play eight-man football. Other states where it is played include California, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon and Washington.
STEVE BORER, Brady, Neb.
? Eight-man football is played in nearly 600 schools across 14 states.—ED.
Six-man football is a "hoot," as John Ed Bradley says, but I think that he failed to impart the intense excitement of the game: the sense of abandon one gets from watching Statue of Liberty plays that actually work, from seeing double reverses that lead to Hail Mary passes, and from viewing open-field tackling that rivals even that of seven-a-side, rugby's to-the-limits counterpart. Six-man and seven-a-side come as close to pure joy as team sports get.
THORNE BUTLER, Jackson, Miss.