I was born in Texas, and I did the usual things that boys do when they grow up in that state.There was not a great choice for us. My main interest was being on the junior varsity basketball team. My school had a gymnasium, but it was only open when there were actual games. There was an outdoors basketball court, and we would practice and play on it. Then my family moved to New York City, and there was an outdoors concrete playground for basketball, and also a gymnasium for would be boxers. Who could want more than that? So, we could play three on three basketball games nearly every day. Additionally, the boys club had a boxing coach, who allowed us to put on the gloves and slug it out.
I was on both the basketball and football team in high school, and on the boxing team at the boys club. That was pretty much what all of the boys that I knew did. I hate to confess this, but television had not been invented, and we had no idea that such a thing would ever exist. I also played all of these sports, while I was in the Army. Basketball and boxing were my best sports.
I was stationed in Germany, and while I was over there, I was on various basketball, boxing, and football teams. I played in some of the basketball tournaments, and I had a deadly one-handed set shot. This may sound unbelievable to you, but at that time, you could not make any money playing basketball, or football either.
I was very active on the boxing team. I started out as a welterweight and grew into a middleweight. I had some decent skills, and I was a very hard puncher. However, as far as I was concerned, the pain of boxing was just too much for me to endure. I won almost all of my bouts, but I would still be sore for several days after each one of them. I never complained about that, because the whole idea of being a boxer is that you are a tough guy.
Please don’t laugh at this, but I strongly considered becoming a professional boxer. My would be manager explained to me that I would have to have about 20 fi ghts and that I would have to win all, or most of them before I could get a 10 round bout, and make a little money. That did not sound promising to me, but Cisco Andrade, one of my friends and teammates, turned professional, and fought Joe Brown in the Los Angeles Coliseum, for the Lightweight Championship of the World. He did not win, but the bout did last the entire 15 rounds.
While I was in the military, I became a Military Policeman, and when we were furnished with mobile electronics, I was required to attend the school to become a radio repairman. I did not want to do that, since I just loved having that 45 on my hip, and we had very fancy uniforms. I also won several fast draw contests, and life was good.
Later in life, my employer, Hughes Aircraft Company gave me a scholarship so that I could attend USC. I felt very insecure about that, because, I did know if I would be able to keep up with the students in my class. However, I studied as hard as I could, and I survived. I even made the Honor Roll. Like everyone else at USC, I fell in love with the football team. I knew most of the Trojan players, and I helped some of them with their homework assignments and saw every game that they played at the Coliseum.
USC had an assembly line of great players, and they were my friend's. Yesterday's Trojans always featured a great running Back. It was referred to as “The Position”. This was the guy who was expected to carry the ball 20 or more times per game, and who would never get tired or injured.
Names that come to mind are Mike Garrett, O. J. Simpson, Marcus Allen, Anthony Davis, Charles White, Ricky Bell, and Reggie Bush. We would sit in the Stands and cheer them on. The current teams are apparently bored by the running game, so they became passing teams. Remember, it was the Trojans who went to Alabama in 1964, and stomped Bear Bryant’s Crimson Tide. That game would have not been played, unless The Bear was sure that he would win.
Now, the once mighty Trojans are getting beaten by Utah, Fresno State and the Little Sisters of Mary. All over the world, Trojans are weeping. [Email: Jorrogers@aol.com]