Friday, September 23, 2011

Six months after crash, MU plays a football game

The Alumni defense tries to pressure Marshall quarterback David Walsh.
By Cathy Gibbs

       Editor’s Note: The ’71 Varsity-Alumni spring game marked the first time that Marshall was involved in a football game since the November tragedy that occurred six months earlier. As expected, a larger than usual crowd came to Fairfield Stadium to watch the new team. But there was more to it than that. Even as they observed, they felt the need to reminisce and hold fast to fond memories of the team that passed away. Cathy Gibbs penned the following commentary about that game for the Marshall U. yearbook. Gibbs was the co-managing editor for the Chief Justice for the 1970-71 school year.

        Kickoff …
       As the Green (Varsity) scrambled their way on the first drive, I asked God if we could ever get used to seeing strange names behind familiar numbers.
       Red flag on the play …
       A new Thundering Herd battling with long-time alums. The crowd roared with delight … their team was playing again.
       A fair catch for the Green. My mind wondered from play to play. Just how fair had Marshall been treated? So much athletic suffering from disgrace to death.
       Time out called …
       Time: Something none can control.
       A new president watched anxiously from the press box. He views a “new” Herd begin a new era of MU football.
       A strong alum drive …
       Will Marshall ever reach the point of strength it had prior to that November day?
       Mr. [Gene] Morehouse’s son ran an errand for me … a couple of young widows watched tensely from  the stands … it’ll have to get easier.
       Wait. Another Green interception. The crowd roars.
       A pile-up … incomplete pass … too many Green mistakes … must tighten up the offense more … another fair catch … as the quarter ends, the teams grow restless … so does the crowd.
       The Green outplayed the White to a fault. But still the mistakes were careless.
       The whole game continued as such … anticipation mingled with shock and delight. … the stadium is filled with memories, and good ones at that.
       Exactly six months and one day after … the Thundering Herd played again.

       P.S. In case you're wondering, the Varsity beat the Alumni 26-0. 


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