Dateline: my motherís house, Boscobel WI, 30 May 2004
Going through the treasure trove of family stuff that my Mom wants us to divvy up now that my Dad is gone. I focus primarily on my Dadís service medals from WWII.
My Mom also has a box of memorabilia from my childhood that she wants me to go through, which yields me a fairly tall stack of material. My favorite find describes my first successful speaking-for-fee engagement. I won $3.00 for the first-place prize at the annual Immaculate Conception Grade School speech contest. It was my first year of participating at grade 4, which was when they let you start.
I beat out my two best friends: Brian Brindley, who spoke about ìThe Circus,î and John Adams, who spoke about Lew Alcindoróthe greatest NBA center you never heard of.
The event was covered in the 20 April 1972 edition of the Boscobel Dial.
My subject? Easy.
The Green Bay PackersCOMMENTARY: My Grandpa Jerry Clifford was one of the Hungry Five who rallied the town to keep the Packers going during various lean years. He was inducted into the Packer Hall of Fame as an executive of the club in 1991.
When you talk of one of the oldest, best known football teams, you have to be talking of the Green Bay Packers, started in 1921. The Green Bay Packing company gave them money to keep going. The great leader and coach Curly Lambeau and the Hungry Five rallied the team around them. In the Twenties, the league split into two divisions. Itís strange when a team like the Packers rarely went as long as five years without winning a championship. The won in í29, í30, í31, again in í36, í39 and í44. Then a long stretch of winless years but victory again in í61 and í62. Again in í65, í66, and í67. Including the first two Super Bowls (In í67 beating the Kansas City Chiefs, 35-10 and in í68 beating the Oakland Raiders, 33-14. Quarterback Bart Starr was voted the most valuable player both the 1967, and í68, Super Bowls. Itís strange: Green Bay, little as it is, has the worldís greatest football team. Most teams come from cities at least ten times bigger than Green Bay.
After Coach Lombardi left, the Packers again suffered years of defeat. Each year though the Packers have a good tough team. Only twice has Green Bay won the division title and lost for the league title. Long ago the Packers had survived years of defeat and come back to be leaders. Theyíve suffered again through years of defeat; theyíre going to be leaders again. Theyíre not finished. Next year, watch out, NFC, AFC, for the Green Bay Packers! Thank you.
Thomas Barnett, Grade Four, Mrs. Dziekan
Hereís the feedback I got from the judge, Miss Sandra Shepherd, high school English instructor: ìExcellent information. Good speaking voice. We were able to understand all of your words. You sound like quite a football ëPacker Backer.í Keep it up.î
I have, Miss Shepherd. I have.