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Football as a Form of Disorderly Conduct
Bill MacKay
October 26, 1964
On the vacant lots of suburban Minneapolis 30 years ago, the game lacked style and perhaps even sense—but it called for iron character, healthy lungs and certain improbable skills
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October 26, 1964

Football As A Form Of Disorderly Conduct

On the vacant lots of suburban Minneapolis 30 years ago, the game lacked style and perhaps even sense—but it called for iron character, healthy lungs and certain improbable skills

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There was Donkey Roberts, an enterprising fellow who had discovered that, without incurring more than nominal damage to his torso, he could knock a ballcarrier galley-west with a flying body block. The Roberts block tackle had been adopted by nearly everyone, but he was by all odds its most devastating practitioner.

There was also Jamie Rooney, a crafty Irish type and a standout defensive player. The general lack of protective gear led, quite naturally, to extreme prudence on defense. Rooney was adept at waiting until the ballcarrier was passing by, then leaping on his back. He was also the leading exponent of another admired technique, the horse-collar tackle.

We noted with ill-disguised glee that the Wallopers' great halfback, Pint Boone, was missing. Unfortunately, among those Wallopers present was Indian Joe, a wild and tricky runner whose touchdown output was prodigious. He was no Indian, but then neither was his name Joe. He owned a complicated Middle European name. But he was dark-complexioned and smoky-eyed, hence his nickname.

We had touchdown producers of our own, stars like Hugh Clausen and Sidney Pugh. Sidney is not a name to conjure up visions of broad-chested heroes, and his surname was pronounced exactly like the exclamation one makes when sniffing rancid chicken fat. Yet Sidney, in addition to being a frantic runner with a remarkable instinct for survival, was equipped with a firecracker temper. We could always count on him for an additional touchdown or two whenever a member of the opposition imprudently made snide references to either his first or last names.

At game time the Wallopers stalled. They were short two men. But they became eager to begin when their ace, Pint Boone, appeared. Pint was scarcely garbed for football. He wore a new-looking sweater and corduroy knickerbockers. He explained disgustedly, "My ma made me go to piano practice."

Enter Mother

We kicked off. Pint Boone scored in three plays. We received and promptly fumbled. Pint scored again. We took the kick again, couldn't get our offense in gear and punted 17 yards downfield. Pint broke loose for another long touchdown run.

As we vented our frustration by attempting to bend him double in our end zone, the morning was rent by a cry of pure feminine anguish. Pint had gambled and lost. His mother, passing by with an armload of groceries, saw only that her son's Sunday-best clothing was being expertly dismantled. The mere sight of a minute hole in the backside of a pair of new corduroy pants could send even the calmest dollar-minded, Depression era mother into a broom-swinging rage.

"Donald Boone! You come home with me this instant." Despite this bitter blow, the Wallopers were committed to continue.

We Hornets, on the other hand, were so elated by the miracle that we braced on our goal line and quickly scored two touchdowns. The Wallopers now were leading 18-12.

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