Then one day opportunity happened.
A senior linebacker named Denny Manchester came to the sidelines, sweaty and dirty from doing battle on the field. He was in big trouble. His jersey was ripped into shreds. There was no way he could go back in the game without his jersey. I heard opportunity knocking. I focused my eyes on the coach hoping he'd notice me. Other bench warmers didn't seem to realize someone would have to go in for Denny; they wandered off to the the water jug or messed with their shoe laces. Coach started scanning the bench.
And his eyes met mine. It was an electric moment. "Stostad! Come here." I had never played linebacker but I could learn. Anything for the good of the team. I grabbed my helmet -
Coach said "You don't need your helmet. Come on, get over here."
How did he expect me to replace Manchester without a helmet?
You know where this is going. Coach didn't want me. He wanted my still clean jersey. I surrendered my shirt to Denny Manchester and Manchester returned to the field.
On the next play, Manchester made the tackle. The public address announcer announced "Tackle by...Stostad?!" Now my feelings were hurt by his surprise. He didn't even know me so how could he know I wasn't a star? Another play, Manchester made another tackle. "Announcer: Tackle by Stostad!" And I jumped up and yelled "Go Stostad!" And the announcer started getting the spirit. This Stostad guy was pretty good. Until some dirty rat went up and told him my number was actually Manchester.
|Tiffany James - note the (lovely) red socks.|
Did my football experience validate the book? If someone else wears your suit...?
As I was contemplating my uniform success in that game, I got to thinking about Tiffany James. Tiffany was one of my favorite Outlaws. She carried the nick name "Crash Test Dummy" because of her fearless attacks on any runner who had the temerity to escape our first lines of defense and start up field. Tiffany was famous for crashing into sometimes much bigger players, grab with heroic tenacity, and pull the runner down on top of herself.
I loved Tiffany's style of play. I also came to love her taste in socks. Now when I played football we were bare legged from knee to ankle. It never occurred to me that we should wear longer socks and cover our legs. When I started photographing Outlaws games and practices, I never gave much thought to socks. In practice, some of the players wore long socks, most played bare legged as I used to play.
|Tiffany again - these socks may have |
been lovely at some time past but football
has apparently done them in. Crash wouldn't
wear these in a game.
|Apparently Tiffany doesn't|
|A chance to get garterless Tiffany's socks photographed|
in a group with less stylish players. You may notice
something unsightly in the legs at the left - don't
worry, that's not a player, that's a coach.
|If I do a feature about uniforms, Houston will win my vote as|
best. The yellow on white makes for great photos.
|I don't like the purple socks of Dallas.|
|The green socks do go with the OKC uniforms.|
|One sock off, one sock on... isn't there a rhyme|
about that? Or is it one shoe off...?
And I noticed some lack of uniformity in the wearing of socks. On the same team, some players wore socks and some went bare-legged between knee and ankle. At least one player had socked one leg and bared the other. I think she and Tiffany could have been friends if only the one sock were red instead of black.
|Power socks! I've noticed the officials are always |
immaculately dressed. Note that one of his pant legs
covers more of the sock than the other. Hmmm. Is
he still immaculately dressed?
You may think that with the season over I must be running out of good subjects to blog about. Nothing could be farther from the truth. My analysis of the sport includes attention to detail. And who knows, someday I may write a football version of "Dress of Success." In which I'll devote a full chapter to socks.