HOME page>                  NEW STUFF page> 
          WRITING CONTENT page>       GUEST ARTISTS page>Home_1.htmlNew_Stuff.htmlEssays.htmlGuest_Artists.htmlshapeimage_1_link_0shapeimage_1_link_1shapeimage_1_link_2shapeimage_1_link_3

My Big Sports Decision

Corky Cummings


When I was growing up in Somerville I never played high school football but I did play in junior high school. Our coach was Manuel Garcia and he liked
to run a two player drill where one guy ran the ball and one guy tackled him. The remainder of the team formed two lines like a narrow tunnel so that neither of the two players could try to run around the other one. After a couple of times going head-to-head against Domingo Vasquez, I determined that my body was better built for sports that didn’t involve a collision. Domingo was not the biggest player on the team but he hit you like he was. I’m not sure that concussions were even recognized back then but I know my vision was sometimes a little blurry after practices.

There were lots of pick-up games on weekends and the sport we normally played at school lunch break was football. We sometimes couldn’t get into the football field so we would play at the home of someone who had a large enough yard. Two of the locations I remember best were at George Wight’s house and George Howard Pazdral’s house. The problem with playing at George Wight’s was that he somehow always conned us into helping him doing his chores before we could play.  We really didn’t have much choice because everyone wanted to play and there were only so many places available. George Howard had a larger lot but he sometimes would get upset when things weren’t going his way, and he would take the football and go into the house. We then had no option except to get on our bicycles and head home. 

One of my most vivid memories from our schoolyard games is about a kid named Adrian Tydlacka. He lived in the country, so he wasn’t around for our weekend or after school games. Adrian had the nickname Big T because he was large and very difficult to tackle. The method most of us used was to jump on his back until he would get tired of carrying 3 or 4 of us and eventually go to the ground. The only one who didn’t prefer this method was Jack Campbell who would hit him head on directly between his thighs. Protective cups weren’t readily available back then, so I’m not sure if Big T was ever able to father any children. 

Every kid back then was usually an Aggie or Longhorn fan. Once one of my classmates thought we should have an Aggie team and a Longhorn team for our next game.  I thought he meant we would just call each team by their mascot and the normal method of choosing players would remain intact. Unfortunately I was one of the few who liked the Longhorns, and I ended up on a team with Donnie Eldridge, who was nicknamed Runt, and a couple of country kids who were better suited for farming. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I should switch to baseball at the next recess. 

There weren’t a lot of rules for our games except “no dunking centers.” That meant you could not directly hit the center after he hiked the ball to the quarterback because otherwise no one would have ever played center. Most plays were drawn up in the dirt or the palm of the quarterback’s hand and consisted of everyone on the team going out for a pass, except for the center who was left to block. Normally none of us could ever get open and the quarterback would be forced to run because of limited pass protection. Our games were not always high scoring affairs. but they were always fun.

Some of the kids I played with went on to very good high school careers and a handful even played in college. My best buddy, Miller Bassler, played at the University of Houston, and he still has aches and pains from his playing days.

It’s a tough game and although I was never popular in high school because I didn’t play, I don’t regret retiring from the game at the age of 14.