Turkey Bowl

November 24, 1983: Muddied combatants pose before heading home for Thanksgiving dinner.

It was a sacred tradition for a number of years, a ritual no less important to its participants than the national holiday on which it occurred. Every Thanksgiving morning at 9:00, a ragtag group of brothers and friends assembled on a frozen field at Robb Park for a spirited game of touch football. Victory with all of its bragging rights was awarded to the first team to score five touchdowns. By that time, great patches of dormant grass would be stripped away, leaving a muddy pit as testimony to the annual battle. Soaked through, sore, and grimier than any other time of the year, the players trudged home to clean up in time for heartily appreciated turkey dinners.

The Turkey Bowl began as a smaller affair, nothing much more than my three older brothers and a few of their friends running some plays on Thanksgiving morning. Things changed when my brother Richard taught 7th and 8th grade math and science at his alma mater, the same Catholic school that I attended.

“I told students I was a tight end at Cal Poly Pomona,” acknowledges Richard. “They didn’t know any better.” Read More

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