Tuesday, December 20, 2011


There are football games that I can almost remember but cannot quite recall, such as the first game ever attended by this eleven-year-old in 1946.
I did not know what a football was much less a football game. But soon I was to become a student well-grounded.

You see, my sister, Ann Lowell Hamby, was a freshman at South Park High School that same year. Ann marched, played bugle and bell lyre in the Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps. Most modern folks refer to a bell lyre as a glockenspiel. That is two German words, glocken (bell) and spiel (play). I’m glad my sister played a bell lyre because I never could have told people what she did had she played a glockenspiel.

We invited a friend of mine from church to go with us to that first game. Her name was Joyce Vick. She was one year older than I was but it didn’t matter.

My parents did not realize that I had discovered girls some three years prior to this occasion. I thought Joyce was a very interesting friend but did not know why. I digress. Back to football.

There was lots of cheering and yelling. Everyone was standing up. I could not see anything. I wondered why they were acting like that. Even my parents were standing and smiling.

I asked, “Hey Joyce, what’s everybody doing?” Joyce explained (she thought), “We just scored a touchdown.” This “we” wording confused me. I had not done anything and Joyce had not done anything. All my parents had done was stand and smile. At least they were not jumping up and down.

I did not want Joyce to realize I was in the dark thus asked her, “Whose side are you on?” She looked at me with her loving smile and said, “Quit being silly.” To this day, I have yet to understand women.

That same year, one of the football players became my hero. His name was Billy Baggett. I recall his running nearly the length of the field for a touchdown at Greenie Stadium. We were playing a tough team, the Orange Bengal Tigers. I believe Orange won that game thirty-something to 6.

Later one afternoon I was with my mother who had driven to campus to pick up Ann. I was lingering outside the car. Billy Baggett came strolling by and said to me “How ‘ya doing there fella?” I was stunned that Billy Baggett spoke to me. That’s when he became my hero.

Another year when I played trombone in the band, we traveled to Orange in a passenger car on the Southern Pacific Railroad. They parked us on a spur and we filed from the train coach into the stadium. The train track was right there.

At halftime, the band formed a big square on the field. We played music and several couples, unknown to me, square-danced. It was a fun-show although I feared that folks back in Beaumont would find out. Our church did not believe in dancing of any sort. I was relieved when no one challenged my Friday night escapade.

After returning to Beaumont from college, I saw the Greenies defeat the Port Arthur Yellow Jackets 16-14. Galena Park came over for a playoff game which we won 7-0. We traveled to Spring Branch where we lost 0-8. There were no touchdowns scored in that game but only a safety and two field goals.

Eddie Jackson, Greenie ’47, who died in the early 1950s from a rare brain disorder, had written a poem. His last verse became the Greenies’ slogan, which more than sums it up:

“The sun that sets may never rise,

But Greenie fight never dies.”

Winston Hamby


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