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From the gridiron. A game of moments worth remembering by Jill King ('93 M.S., '00 M.A.)
Illustration by Shannon Mooney ('94)

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About the author

Jill King is senior editor in UNT's Office of University Communications and Marketing. In addition to the teams mentioned here, she's cheered Kittens, Badgers and Bears in her days as a football follower. She's also a big Stars fan, but that's another story.



HERE WAS STRATEGY AND SUSPENSE. There was epic conflict. There was Frito pie.

I was 12 years old and rooting for the Poochies, my seventh-grade football team. They battled valiantly — to a scoreless tie.

To this day, I’m not sure exactly what a Poochie is, but I know my love for football started with that game. Those boys looked like knights out to save the kingdom, all shiny and padded, their helmets falling over their faces as surely as any medieval visor. You’ve never seen such an earnest effort to win the day.


Heroic efforts

Thanks to that early impression, some of my very best memories are football memories. In high school I’d go to games at the local college (Texas A&I, it was called then), where the Javelinas played. It was like a family in those stands, literally. At every home game, Mrs. Hill stood at the bottom of the steps cheering for her son David, on good plays and bad. You knew she’d be there without fail, and it made you feel good to witness that kind of unerring support — and to feel it yourself. The band played “Jalisco” and the fans rattled the bleachers as needed. I got to watch Darrell Green return punts (he’s now a Pro Bowl cornerback in his 19th season with the Washington Redskins).

In those days — the days of Tom Landry — I was a rabid Cowboys fan. I never missed a game on television, and the first one I attended at Texas Stadium was truly transcendent. That December game turned out to be one for the ages. They came from behind twice to win — against the Redskins, no less.

Quarterback Roger Staubach later devoted an entire chapter of his autobiography to it. I was the coldest I ever remember being, and our $6 seats were in the very top row of the end zone. But, oh, the joy of that day, watching the game I loved with all my heroes on the field.


Rhapsody in green

My most recent favorite football memories are all about North Texas. Several years back, some co-workers and I sat in the middle of the student seats, cheering the team to victory, singing “Margaritaville” with the tuba section and helping body-surf Scrappy up the stands. One year my mom went with me (she’s also a football fan) and we sat in the sunshine with our shades on, soaking in every play.

At last year’s Homecoming game, my friends and I slapped our plastic noisemakers together almost without ceasing. We reveled in the good plays, bemoaned the bad and along the way enjoyed the band’s tribute to Queen. There’s nothing like a little “Bohemian Rhapsody” to top off your day.

I realized way back in the seventh grade that football is a game of moments. It can turn on one lost fumble, one errant kick, one good tackle, one yard gained. Talent and brawn help, but I’ve seen determination and courage, and sometimes just plain luck, win out many times.

In the end, for me — as it was in the beginning — it’s the effort itself that’s worth celebrating and remembering. That, and the feeling that you’re part of the family. You just can’t beat it. And the season’s here again.

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