Against Minnesota, Reid played opposite Ed Widseth, a 240-pound giant who was to become nationally famous during the game. There was a nightmarish quality to the afternoon, in which the plodding Northwestern team and especially the unshakable Reid (who was an All-America guard in 1936) seemed to represent fixed determination pitted against frustrated skill. In the final minutes of the last quarter Minnesota threw three wild laterals, and each was recovered by Northwestern, which, however, each time lost the ball in turn.
At the start of the last minute of this muddy melodrama Northwestern recovered a fumble on the Minnesota 13-yard line. The final setback was too much for Ed Widseth who, when the pileup was peeled away, was observed to be steadily punching a Northwestern player on the nose. Or at least a referee said he had seen Widseth twice hit a man after the whistle. It wasn't Dr. Reid—he and Widseth subsequently became good friends. The rain was now drenching, the wind strong and the light weak, and the spectators peered through the dusk in bewilderment when the ball, as a result of the penalty, was placed almost on the goal line. Northwestern pushed it over and won the game 6-0. Whether this frustrating conclusion to Minnesota's unbeaten streak played any part in Bud Wilkinson's motivation later on in coaching the Oklahoma team to its alltime record is debatable. Even now, the players who were on the field that afternoon haven't much to say about it. Dr. Reid says pacifically that the movies showed somebody was pushed. Bud Wilkinson says, "I think it best not to comment. Let's say that at the time I couldn't agree with the call."
Ten of the 1961 Silver Anniversary Award winners served in the Navy during World War II, nine in the Army, one in the Air Force, two were wartime agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and one was a civilian chemist doing malaria research for the Army. A good many of them started their military training while they were still in college or enlisted soon after graduation, before the war began. One was a private on a transport between the Philippines and Hawaii when Pearl Harbor was bombed. One was stationed at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii at the time. Another saw his first action flying from an old four-stacker, air-catapult cruiser. By the end of the war the Philippines-bound private was a lieutenant colonel. All told, the list of Silver Anniversary Award winners includes two colonels, two lieutenant colonels—one a chaplain—and four majors, plus two Navy captains and three lieutenant commanders.
By the end of the war the men of this hard-pressed generation tended to be laconic, self-possessed and given to understatement. As a group, the winners are now big, well-preserved individuals, accounted handsome, all family men and all weighing about what they weighed in college.
These 25 Silver Anniversary Award winners have it in common that they all played football for their colleges for the last time in 1936; they all worked toward graduation the next year; they all could look forward then to a future that seemed threatening at best. They have all distinguished themselves since graduation by their genuine contributions in innumerable ways to American business, professional and community life. Because of these contributions, they were nominated by their colleges, and the judges, who are pictured on page 119, after considering the records of all the candidates, chose them to receive the Awards that have come to be synonymous with the twin ideals of sportsmanship and public service.
Well, 1961 is part of the future of 1936 and, whatever else was anticipated then, this particular development was not expected by the football players of that dramatic year. One characteristic they possessed in common was a tendency to play down both difficulties and accomplishments, and they added a note of caustic humor to their view of themselves, the world they lived in and the football they played.
They often had to work for what their predecessors in more prosperous times took for granted. Hard times imposed hard-headedness on them. They did not become bitter, but they certainly looked skeptically at extravagant claims and emotional appeals. They were in a paradoxical situation with regard to their own careers. They were enterprising and ambitious and often had to test the limits of their enterprise to work their way through college. But they came out of college in a period when demands for a radical revision of society were clamorous and when the old familiar goals of material success alone seemed shabby and inadequate in the face of the widespread distress of the time.
What they did, if any credo can be evoked from them, was focus their efforts into narrower limits than their predecessors had done and add a sense of civic and social responsibility to their concept of their duties. A certain pride in good operations as such, a sort of craftsmanship in business, replaced the high-pressure drive of the years before: the men of this generation generally valued the work they did for its own sake. Dr. Vollmer summed it up when he said of teaching: "There's no money in it, never has been. You have to like the work and want to help young people learn."
Young Boozer is a tireless fund raiser for hospitals, charitable causes and his church. Dean Stevenson now occupies an office in the hall in Lehigh where he lived as an undergraduate, and oversees the activities of some 50 churches in the diocese. Gil Kuhn, who organized a chain of packers of shellfish in Mexico and built up Ocean Garden Products entirely with Mexican capital, flies his own plane regularly between San Diego and Mexico City and the corporation's eight packing and quick-freezing plants. Joe O'Neill lives in Midland, Texas and in Palm Beach, plays golf—"I usually have to pay off," he says—and shoots ducks for recreation. He is interested in the experimental drilling for power from live steam, conducted by one of his companies in California's Salton Sea.
During the Normandy invasion Captain Bringle was skipper of the First Observation Fighting Squadron, flying fighters off a flattop at the mouth of the Rhone. Shot down on his third low-level strike, Bringle survived, and was moved with his squadron to the Pacific, where he won six Distinguished Flying Crosses and 17 Air Medals—he already had the Navy Cross—in more than a hundred attack missions against enemy shore installations. "I think football is the finest possible athletic training for military minds," Captain Bringle said the other day. "It drills fight, teamwork, strategy, fast thinking and quick decisions into a young mind. It is the closest thing to real combat you can possibly get in athletics."