Saturday, January 15, 2011

Mudders in the Snow

There was a certain age, when a six inch plus snowfall would drive all the teen boys down to the Hockey Field in Carl Schurz Park for some of the best tackle football in the Yorkville neighborhood. If you were lucky, you had on those great $6 dollar tan & brown rubber boots with the yellow laces you bought from Arbee's on 83rd & Second (mandatory footwear for Troop 654 ~ St. Stephen of Hungary's Boy Scouts) ~ if you weren't lucky you had sneakers on, and said, "Uncle," when your feet froze and you lost feeling in them.

The trick to staying out in the snow forever, was keeping the snow from getting inside the boot (if you had them on ~ half the guys had sneakers), everybody had their own method. I tucked my two long johns inside the boot than wore my dungarees outside the boot and put a big rubber band around the dungarees half way up the boot. This kept me dry for a long time, and also put my foot to sleep cutting off my circulation, better than getting wet.

The tackle games in the snow were terrific. We had “mudders,” like at the race track on rainy days. Guys who were useless at football when it wasn’t snowing, but as soon as they got down the Hockey Field in a pile of snow they turned into super heroes. You lost your traction in the stuff and certain guys knew how to adjust and some danced the night away, poorly. Nimble turned into the leading talent down the Hockey Field.

Before the game, we'd sneak back up our houses to get extra clothing to act as padding. Dad was permanently pissed off at me for ruining his sweatshirts. I'd throw a pair of his house pants over my dungarees and belt them up for good luck.

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