Nominations for the title of No. 1 Football Fan will not close until the season's end, but one would have to rate Eduardo Antonio Erueta high on any list. A 1928 Ohio State University graduate in chemical engineering, Erueta has seen every Ohio State home football game since 1956—which is unusual only because to do so he has had to journey from his home in Barranquilla, Colombia, South America.
Every September, Ereuta takes three months off from operating the family banana plantation near Barranquilla, rents an apartment in Columbus and settles down to a season of dedication to the Buckeyes. His wife came with him one year but got homesick.
In U.S. households, few husbands could get three months off to watch football games. "Remember," says Erueta, "in South America the husband is the boss."
BARON DE COUBERTIN, INDEED!
The record books all say that the first modern Olympic Games were held at Athens in 1896, the inspiration of Baron Pierre de Coubertin. It is a version of history that does not go down well in the pubs of Much Wenlock, Shropshire, England and especially with members of the Wenlock Olympian Society, which has been holding its own games there since 1850. Wenlockians give the credit to the town doctor of that time, William Penny Brookes, "rather a fanatic on physical culture" and dedicated to the ideals of ancient Greece. He converted a local reading club into the Olympian Society, and the first games, held annually ever since, were tilting and foot racing, with Wenlock crosses of gold, silver and bronze awarded to winners.
In 1860 the Greeks put on an industrial conference in Athens, with games as an added attraction. Dr. Brookes sent 10 pounds and a silver medal to the Greek games. In return, King Otto I of Greece sent a gold cup to be competed for in the Wenlock tilting tournaments. In 1880 the Olympian Society sent a resolution to the British and Greek governments proposing an international Olympic festival. Nothing came of it.
Then, in 1890, Baron de Coubertin came to Wenlock to see the games and planted an oak tree on their site. He wrote an article about it in La Revue Athl�tique of December 1890, complimenting Dr. Brookes profusely and referring to Dr. Brookes's proposal for a revival of the Greek games on an international scale.
"It was mainly due to Brookes that we have today's international Olympics," says John Corbett, history master of Wenlock County Secondary School.
Dr. Brookes died in 1895, a year before the revival of the Games.