Thursday, January 1, 2015

A New Year's Day Memory

The thought of so many renowned players participating in today's semifinals of the College Football Playoffs, the winners qualifying for a chance to play for a national championship, brings back a special New Year's Day memory that occurred 59 years ago.
It was a brisk, cold sunny morning on January 1, 1957. A knock on the door of the track house on Otsego Street in Encino announced the arrival of a package delivered by a weary United Parcel Service driver. The box had a return address of Denver, Colorado.


add delivery: The package was addressed to a certain 8-year old boy whose grandfather, Jack Carberry, was the sports editor of the Denver Post. After thanking the delivery man, the boy quickly opened the box, which was about 18 inches long and 8 inches wide, and wrapped in brown shipping paper. Inside was a light brown leather official Spalding football, which had LOOK 1956 ALL-AMERICA stenciled in white paint on one side.


2nd add delivery: The ball was autographed by the biggest names in college football for the 1956 season, all of whom were honored as All-Americans by Look Magazine. A sheet of paper with the players' names typed in black ink listed the signatures, which included Paul Hornung, Jim Brown, John Brodie, Jim Parker, Johnny Majors, Tommy McDonald, John David Crow, Jack Pardee and Leo Fischer. The ball, which has a few cracks in the leather, still has air in it and the autographs are visible, a reminder of a special New Year's Day a long time ago.

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