Pass It On is a new, bi-weekly peek inside the heart and mind of Francis Pass…
The Gruesome Twosome
The Gruesome Twosome
“Sergeant Pass, are you thinking about reenlisting?”
I told Colonel Miller that I’d been offered a position back home. After I explained the circumstances, he said that sounded like a great future.
But Colonel Miller had something else on his mind.
“Sergeant, we play our last football game on the thirteenth. It’s on Saturday night and it will be for the Post Championship.”
Before I go on, I should explain that until I was in the service, I hadn’t ever played football. Back when I was in school, Dongola didn’t have enough boys to even think about assembling a football team. We were lucky to find nine players for baseball. So, with football, I was literally late to the game.
Another tidbit you might like to know... I was officially discharged from the Army at twelve noon on the thirteenth. All the stuff in our apartment was already packed up and on the truck. So, come time for kickoff, I would technically be a civilian.
But that didn’t stop me from playing in the Championship game.
After all, up to that point, we had won all of the games in our division at Fort Knox. So I was obliged to keep the streak alive.
The Post Championship may have been flag football... but I promise you, it was just as rough and tough as regular football. Except we didn’t wear any gear.
And lemme tell ya... we had one heckuva team. Many of our officers played sports in college. One fella had played for the Louisville Cardinals. He and I together were referred to as “The Gruesome Twosome.” I believe it Colonel Miller himself gave us that title.
Our quarterback was an NCO who beat out two officers to earn the position. It helped that he had also been a quarterback in college.
And Premble, our fullback, was fast, tough, and strong.
I preferred to play defense. That way, I was usually hitting the other guy rather than being the one getting hit.
Our linebacker taught me how to make a hole for him to shoot through and snag the quarterback’s flag before he could execute the play.
He could read an offense like no other. He’d come up behind me and act like he was talkin’ while he patted my posterior. If he tapped my right cheek, I’d know to take the guard on the right. And a tap on the left buttock meant I was blocking left.
I tell ya... we were monsters of the gridiron. Refs would say, “Dang it, you’re all in the Army. Let’s bring this down a notch or two. We don’t want anybody to get hurt out here.”
We thought we were unstoppable. And we were... until we met the Ireland Army Team in the Championship Game.
Facing them was like trying to move a mountain. The Ireland Army team had three fellas who played for the Washington Redskins. One of ‘em was a wide receiver and, man, was he fast.
We did not win that day. Not by a long shot.
But I’m glad I played in that game. We were a team. Just like in Vietnam. We had each other’s back through thick and thin. And if we were gonna go down, we were gonna go down together.
That’s what teamwork is all about.
Besides... I could never dream of breaking up the Gruesome Twosome.
Be well. Stay well. Thanks for readin’...
P.S. – Here’s another fun fact: My dad played for the Philadelphia Eagles! It was back when players got a percentage of the gate. I guess that’s where I got my gruesomeness.