I hate graveyards and pawnshops
For they always bring me tears
I can’t forgive the way they rob me
Of my childhood souvenirs.
Souvenirs – John Prine 1972
This summer has allowed some time for reflection, and listening to John Prine sing (via the miracle of youtube) is about as reflective as anyone could want.
Souvenirs, possibly Prine’s most popular song, includes those wonderful lyrics above … and it got me to thinking about so many childhood college football “souvenirs” I seem to be missing these days.
Here are a few …
Lindsey Nelson and his plaid jackets.
The old Notre Dame football replays on Sunday mornings with Nelson and “The Golden Boy” Paul Hornung (“we switch to further action”).
Keith Jackson and “whoa Nellie” … along with his announcing partners Frank Broyles and Ara Parseghian.
All the big bowls played on New Year’s Day … the end of college football season.
Bill Flemming in a yellow ABC blazer with his preseason college football special that kicked off the season (I also miss his fifteen minute pregame show that aired on Saturdays during the pre-ESPN days).
Seeing a college band play at halftime on television. Funny thing is I couldn’t stand to watch the bands growing up, but now I’d rather listen to the music than the blather of all the studio hosts.
Bear Bryant leaning on a goal post with a sport coat slung over his shoulder.
Woody Hayes tearing up a yard-marker … or a ball cap … or anything else upon which he could lay hands.
Joe Paterno wearing those high waders … oh, wait a minute, thankfully I can still see him this fall.
Uwe von Schamann, an Oklahoma kicker, playfully conducting the Ohio State band in the Horseshoe before booting a last-second, game-winning field goal against the Buckeyes.
Jim Lampley, the first and best of the sideline reporters.
Barry Switzer grimacing on the sidelines and occasionally chewing out some dark-haired assistant coach with a moustache that always seemed to be standing next to him in the late 1970s.
Darrell Royal’s down-home humor (“he runs faster than small-town gossip”).
Notre Dame winning national championships (and hearing everybody complain about how the Irish always get the breaks in the polls).
Players jogging in front of the television cameras and saying their names and hometowns before the Saturday big game.
Oklahoma-Nebraska … on Thanksgiving Day.
Herschel Walker, Bo Jackson, Marcus Dupree, Mike Rozier, George Rogers, and all those other big, strong, and fast running backs of the early 1980s – never been another group that good come through that close together.
The great Chris Schenkel … and his sometimes partner Bud Wilkinson too. I’d even watch Chris Schenkel announce the pro bowlers tour on Saturdays.
Johnny Musso and Wilbur Jackson.
Joe Montana and chicken soup at the Cotton Bowl.
Sitting in the stands at Grant Field as a teenager watching the students throw fish wrapped up in newspaper.
To paraphrase the great JP … it took me years to get those childhood souvenirs and I don’t want them to slip away from me.