"First Football Game Very Exciting in 1897"

(from the Waxahachie Daily Light)

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"First Football Game Very Exciting in 1897"

(from the Waxahachie Daily Light)

The following story is the first published account of a football game concerning a Waxahachie grid squad. The story was written for the Waxahachie Mirror in 1897 and newsletter readers should find the story interesting. The article is reprinted as originally written and is hard to follow at times.

FOOT-BALL

An Intensely Exciting Game Witnessed Here for the First Time

Waxahachie Football Team, 1911.
Top Row, L to R: unkown, unknown, unknown, Raymond (Bugs) Fleming, unknown, John Templeton
Middle Row, L to R: Bass Williams, unknown, James Hurd, Ed Sweat, John Henry Pierce, George Hurd, unknown.
Bottom Row, L to R: unknown, unknown, Dickie Quaite, J. R. Shelton.

"There has been some interest here in the game between the schools, but Waxahachie for the first time saw a match last Saturday. Ingalls, in describing the great Nevada prizefight (the boys will pardon any reference here) said "the day was one of incomparable loveliness," but not so last Saturday. Still the people went, and from their buggies, horseback, and on foot, witnessed the exciting struggle between Waxahachie and Fort Worth. Country men returning from town stopped long enough on their way through West End to take their first glimpse of the peculiar business."

"The Mirror has never thought favorably of the game, but the reporter was present, to tell the readers something of it, though of course, it is in non-professional style, and then he had heard so much about it, that he ‘wanted to see the animals’ anyway as they say about going to the circus."

"The gridiron is 330 x 160 feet, subdivided, and on each end is the goal, 18½ feet apart, and held together by something ten feet high, and kicking the ball over which counts big in the game, since this is much easier than pulling the whole mess and mass of humanity there with you, as the one getting the ball has to do to get there."

"Fort Worth accomplished this feat once."

"They cast lots in opening for choice of goal, since the wind may make this important as it does even in running of freight trains, and also for the ball. To equalize any disadvantage the sides change goals during the game, so that when things are going our way, as seemed on the second round, imagine the disappointment when the uninitiated found that there had been a change."

"Play lasts so long, time to be agreed on, and whichever ‘gets there’ with the ball the more, carrying everything else with him, as the opposition tries to prevent his getting there, has won."

"This is a statement of the case as near as this reporter could catch it from the outside. Fort Worth ‘got there’ to the amount of 14, Waxahachie 0, within the 40 minutes play. Waxahachie had not the training of the Fort Worthites and her boys are said to have played well by those who know. To the outsider they seemed to be working at the business with just as much vigor as the others, and in fact some of them, Parks for fleetness, Cunningham for hang on, and Getzendaner (Ralph) for alertness and agility, seemed to do extra well".

Waxahachie High School Football Team, 1912. To date, individuals unidentified.

"The visiting team went away with many expressions of appreciation for the nice way they were treated, expense of their trip met by the Waxahachie team which they realized in gate fees to within a few dollars."

"What is there in it, naturally asks those who witness it. It certainly cultivates the grit faculty. Then the boy who gets the ball is put to the test in deciding on the moment what to do, and where to go. He can say with Milton; ‘Which way I fly is hell.’

"No lexicographer, linguist, or philologist will ever understand the word ‘tackle’ until he witnesses a game of foot-ball."

"With it all this scribe doesn’t think that the play is worth the candle, speaking in a figure. There is too much risk in it. The statistics are appalling and those who see it wonder that they are not worse."

"Was anybody hurt was frequently asked those returning Saturday evening: ‘nobody hurt seriously -- all hurt some."

"Talking of it after the game, with Mr. John C. Gibson, he illustrates it well with the following, and he has never seen the game: He says that in an early day here when Waxahachie had opened her first barber shop with impromptu material, and the barber was shaving Mr. Russell Marchbanks; at one of the resting places he asked: ‘Well Mr. Marchbanks, how do you like it?’ Mr. M said: ‘Well, if you call it skinning it is tolerable slick, just tolerable: but if you call it shaving it’s mighty tough.’"

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