The old warrior fights his battles from a desk now, but he is there all day every weekday and half a day Saturday, the way everybody in America worked when the warrior was in his prime. And not puttering around, you understand—working. Dressed in a snappy shirt and a flashy tie, with a short zippered coat we used to call an Eisenhower jacket (one thinks of Skycaps now), he means business. His eyes are clear, his jaw juts and his memory is unimpaired, which is the euphemism employed in print to mean he still has all his marbles. George S. Halas still has all his marbles.
Of course, as we know, it's a young man's game, sports. And Papa Bear is 82, going on 83. Eighty-two, for Pete's sake. Eighty-two and still at it. George Halas is even older than George Burns, and George Burns is the oldest man in the world. "First of all," says Papa Bear, "I wouldn't know about old, because I'm not old. I have only one rule: I don't date any woman under 48." He actually said "date." He has outlived a loving wife and then a steady girl, and he has outlasted all the other ancient symbols of sports.
Sports used to abound with grand old men who grew with their games: Mister Mack, Colonel Matt, Amos Alonzo Stagg. Sunny Fitz and Old Case are gone, too; the Masters' maestro, Clifford Roberts, blew his brains out the other day. Tom Yawkey, Phil Wrigley and Tony Hulman of the Indy 500 have left us. They pulled the Baron, Adolph Rupp, kicking and screaming, from his bench, and they shot Jack Dempsey's restaurant out from under him. It's a young man's game. It has been 10 seasons now since Papa Bear stopped coaching, but he is the only grand old man left at his desk, working every day and half a day Saturday.
To be sure, a couple of youngsters, Jim Finks and Jack Pardee, actually run the Bears, and Halas' son and son-in-law head up the office. But the old man is on top of things. He is still heard from. For the purposes of this account, just so there wouldn't be any misconceptions, he prepared a detailed account of his quotidian activities. It is entitled "Outline of Typical Day—Geo. S. Halas," and it runs to four typewritten pages. It lists all the things Papa Bear does as Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Bears, as President of the National Conference of the NFL and in his numerous civic and charitable capacities. From time to time he provides helpful commentary. Listen, not everybody's a quick study, like Sid Luckman. "Why, I used to call Sid up at 11:30 Monday night with all the plays for the next game," says Papa Bear, "and the next morning he could rattle them all off to me. And you know why? Because he worked hard and he was sharp as a tack."
Here are some samples from "Typical Day":
"Responsible for investing all club monies—Therefore, each morning get current financial picture—Bankers, Brokers, Publications....
"Telephone—These are taped—Calls are from coast to coast. All calls are logged. Each day is heavy....