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 Texas : Features : Columns : History by George

FOOTBALL "FIELDS" IN 1930

by Louise George
Louise George
Personal interviews with Texas Panhandle men and women born in the early years of the twentieth century rewarded me with hundreds of stories illustrating their everyday life. I like to share those stories just as they were told to me.

J.W. "Buck" Buchanan was born in 1908 in Oklahoma. His family moved to Old Hansford, Texas when he was just a boy. The entire town of Old Hansford would eventually move to be near the railroad and change its name to Spearman. After his sophomore year Buck decided to quit school and go to work. After a couple of years, his mother convinced him to go back and finish his high school education. In his own words he tells about his football team.

Anyway, I went back and finished school and I played basketball and football. I played in the first football game I ever seen. I didn't know what I was doing, but I was out there. They started football there in '28 when I was in school. I played left halfback on offense and left end on defense. None of us knew what we were doing, but we showed up. We didn't have a field; we just marked off a place. I don't remember the score of our first game, or even who we played, but I do remember we didn't win a game that first year. We played Perryton and Guymon and Wheeler. Back then when we played out of town, we had to catch a ride. They didn't have any buses. I sure did dread Wheeler and getting tackled on the edge of that field of goatheads. They picked plenty of goatheads out of me and boy! It did hurt. I played basketball, too. I wasn't too good at it, but I was a substitute.
J.T. Brown was born on a farm twelve miles southwest of Dumas in 1914. He graduated Dumas High School in 1931. In his own words, he shares some stories of his participation in sports at DHS.

I played basketball while I was in high school and I played football too. I made the team, but I was real light. I only weighed about a hundred and seven or eight pounds. I was pretty small to be playing football, but anyway, I went ahead and played and made the team every year till I graduated. Our team had trouble with Phillips [a small town near Borger] all the time; they were our biggest competition. But, we had a fair team even if we were small. I played guard and as light as I was, up in the middle of the line, I got run over just every time.

I never will forget our first trip after I started playing football. I don't know how come us to do it, but we did. We loaded on the school bus up here and we was going to Amarillo to play Alamo Catholic. That was a new school and that was the first year they had a football team. Somebody on our team decided we needed a pouch of tobacco, chewing tobacco. They went and got some Beechnut and just as we was leaving out of town, our coach was driving the bus, Coach Denman, they passed the sack of tobacco around and everybody got them a chew, everybody that wanted to. Coach looked up in the mirror and seen what was going on and he just whipped that old bus over to one side and stopped it and he got up in front of the bus and he made it very plain that we didn't have to go play football if we were going to disobey the rules like that and chew tobacco. We got rid of our tobacco and went to play football.

There at the new school house, they had built the football field right out in the middle of a cultivated field, and it was muddy, oh boy! I wasn't making the first team; I was substitute on the sideline over there. Somewhere along the line, well, one of the players, he used a curse word out on the field and the coach heard it. It was just right there close to him and he said, "Come here J.T., and go in and take Frank's place." Well, I did, but boy! I'll tell you, I got wollered around out there. I made it though and I kept on playing.
Louise George
History by George
- April 13, 2006
Louise George is author of two books, No City Limits, The Story of Masterson, Texas, and Some of My Heroes Are Ladies, Women, Ages 85 to 101, Tell About Life in the Texas Panhandle. Louise can be reached at (806) 935-5286, by mail at Box 252, Dumas, Texas, or by e-mail at lgeorge@NTS-online.net.

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