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Palabras Pintorescas: Staying true to football

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By Editha Bartley

Would you believe after all these years of goofing off and playing around, I am still a tried and true football fan? And, yes, I am in a fantasy football league, and my partner, Kat and I plan to win big time this year. Yes, I have my favorite teams and favorite players, but what and who Kat and I pick and who we end up with are two different programs. So it goes in this fantasy world!
And now, suddenly it is almost homecoming time with both of our high schools and of course our Highlands University Cowboys. I wish I had a dollar for every football game I have attended here while at Las Vegas High School (now Robertson) and Highlands. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — Perkins Stadium has the hardest and the coldest rock (that is real stone, kids) stadium I have been in.
Add a late October night game with snowflakes blowing around, and then the imminent problem of errant; stray footballs going in strange directions because of the icy cold weather, and yet, lots of us crazy students sat there and actually thought we were having fun. Somehow a baseball game just doesn’t conjure up the same degree of fun in my book.
Back in the day we went to football games all over this big state. Big Brother Bill played in the New Mexico Military Institute band back in the 1950s and our parents always attended as many NMMI football games as time would allow.
Our mother always packed big picnic lunches so Sweet Brother Bill could have some home cooking when he was a cadet. There was always a big parade of and for the cadets before the game, and I always tried to stand at an outstanding vantage point, so I could make a face at him when he marched by us blowing wildly on either his clarinet or saxophone.
Yes, because he was my little brother, still I secretly hoped he would both trip and lose his place in the formal band formation. And yes, he went through life not knowing I was his No. 1 super special friend and sister.
Life marches on, and a decade or two later we have son Carl in college at New Mexico State University. Of course I wouldn’t miss a Highlands University versus Aggie Football game in Las Cruces. And I wouldn’t miss a football game during the time Carl Ferrill was Highlands football coach. He taught a bunch of us Highlands alums and supporters how to appreciate the finer points of the game.
He had a house just down the road from the ranch at Pendaries and he never ever came up here without reminding me (and any of my family within earshot) how fantastic, wonderful it would be to bring in the big league, professional football teams to do their summer practice right here in our several hay meadows.
Between the high altitude, beef steak, brisket and beans, these teams would be super, the stars of the NFL. Darn! Yet another opportunity missed, supposedly.
I commend the NFL and medical teams that have finally changed this football game as we knew it was way back when. Too many brain injuries and concussions were common. Pads and helmets, plus limited tackling have made this game so much safer now.
I also manage to spend lots of time watching the many games on TV now and I often correct both the refs and the players when I suspect they have bumbled and/or fumbled. Isn’t that what dyed-in-the-wool football fans do?

Editha Bartley lives in Gascon in Mora County. She may be reached at 454-0563.