While sitting in the stands at the Lindale High School season opener over in Chapel Hill the other night I realized I had been summoned to the field by the allure of those infamous “Friday Night Lights”. I am by no means new to this football phenomenon as I, was sucked in by the spiral of the football from a very young age. Like every family history there are those word of mouth stories passed from generation to generation somewhat historical but not completely authenticated and in that arena my family is not lacking. The football folklore surrounding my family is shrouded with drama, scandal, wins, and losses which we all know are the main ingredients for the perfect “Friday Night Lights” plot.
So here goes… My grandmother went to Sam Houston Normal Institute (today Sam Houston State University), which was a teacher college she attended back around 1910. She held education in the highest regard so when Lindale schools lost there accreditation with the State of Texas in the late 1920’s she found herself in a dilemma. My Dad who was beginning his High School career would not have had a diploma recognized by the State so my Grandmother sent my Dad to school in Tyler. Just like in today’s times generally the larger the school the more opportunities are available and this was the case with football. My Dad played football for Tyler High and in 1930 his junior year in High School, Tyler High won THE State Championship. When I say THE state championship I mean the one and only because back then there was only one Champion since it was prior to the schools being placed in divisions. This was the first State Championship for East Texas so a football firestorm began and interest grew as you can imagine.
After a few years Lindale Schools began to recover and built a new school in the early 1930’s. They also brought football to town! Mr. T.L Arthur who was my Agriculture teacher in the late 1950’s, who I endearingly named “Mr. Agriculture” in a previous blog, introduced football to Lindale. My Dad was at the first football game ever played in Lindale, but not as a player and not as a fan, but as a referee. Yes, it’s true. Mr. Arthur asked my Dad and another former Tyler High player to be the referees because they knew more than anyone else about the game simply because they had played it. My Dad was also witness to the first touchdown in Lindale History and he watched his first cousin T.A. Fleming score it.
Just to be clear it has been said that there was an infraction on that play and rumor has it that a yellow flag should have been thrown and there might have been speculation that the flag was quickly tucked back in the pocket from whence it came, but of course we all know a rumor goes in one ear then out many mouths. (wink, wink)
As for me, well, I have my own football tale! I hold the record at Lindale High for the most yards lost in one single play, but of course that is a rumor too!