September 22, 2017
This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
It’s football season!!! We thought that today, we would review some newspaper reports on the football season in years past.
The first article found was dated 1894. The author had an obvious bias and concern about players getting injured when he wrote: “Football is, if possible even more brutal and dangerous than prize-fighting. But it is now a popular fad and it is supposed it will continue in “favor” until some of our bright and sturdy boys are maimed for life. Thus far, in the season a broken arm and numerous bruises and contusions were the extent of the injuries received by local players, but it was felt that parents and teachers would avert much future regret, if they would strongly use their influence against this barbarous pastime.”
By 1912, there was a more acceptance of the sport. A football banquet was given by local merchants at the Bartell House at Sixth and Washington Streets. Twenty-one players and as many merchants enjoyed an evening of dining and hearing short talks given by Dr. Smiley (the team’s coach), Dr. Carr, Mr. Platt and Mr. Shideler. After the banquet the boys were treated to free entertainment at the Lyric Theater.
A 1913 article related some changes to the rules of playing football. Neither the head coach nor anyone would be allowed to walk up and down the sidelines. The words “running into the fullback after the kick” were changed to “roughing the kicker.”
We found the report of the 1918 Junction City versus Salina game to be surprising. JCHS lost. This was their first game of the season and the score was 32 to 2. One of the suspected reasons for the loss was that several players had car trouble and were unable to get to the game during the first half.
It is football season and we wish all of our local teams the best – not only on the field but in using the many life skills that are learned from playing sports.