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Odd to be beginning a photo essay on "backwoods" football in the middle of New York City. Rain falls as I head uptown by car to Baker Field, an old wooden stadium out of another era, marvelously photogenic and a vivid contrast to the swirl of the surrounding city.
A downpour at halftime, and when the Columbia band moves out to perform some band members hesitate, as if to debate the sanity of exposing themselves and their instruments to such weather.
Columbia piling up the score now, and along the Fordham bench the frantic question is not can we win but can we score. The game ends in a gloom that by now has fully gathered, with Columbia a lopsided victor. As a few happy fans literally spill down the rain-slicked stands, I returned to the office.
OCT. 7, FROSTBURG, MD.
Heavy rain again as I drive down the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Frostburg. Horrible accident just ahead. A car spins out of control and flips over onto the side of the road. The semiconscious driver ends up 20 feet from his car with two hysterical and apparently unhurt girls calling his name in the night. With an umbrella I keep him dry until an ambulance arrives.
The next morning, a beautiful trip into the Pennsylvania and Maryland country-sides, passing through Cumberland, Md., a very old and picturesque city nestled high in the Maryland hills. A little behind schedule, I locate the Frostburg State-Towson State game at a high school field. The Frostburg athletic director personally greets me on my arrival and offers every cooperation. Such attention is highly flattering and a marked change of pace from so-called big-time college football.
A tight game with a capacity Frostburg State rooting section breaking into delirium with every advance or score of its team. A quite respectable Frostburg band performs long after game's end, and one wonders if a football game at Ohio State or Nebraska can be any more enjoyable than this.
A short plane ride to Boston, a pleasant drive to Durham and I arrive at the scene of the New Hampshire-Maine game more easily than anticipated. A beautiful campus, like so many that dot the New England countryside—ivy-covered buildings, tree-lined walks, a classic old main building and the entire campus enveloped in the brilliant colors of autumn. The perfect setting for a Saturday afternoon of football.