Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Decision to rejoin team was "the right thing to do"

        It was probably sometime in February ’71 that I began to entertain thoughts about playing college football again. By that time, it had been three months or so since the November 14, 1970 plane crash. The memories from that night remained vivid and fresh in the minds of everyone with any connection of any kind to Marshall University.
Book author Craig T. Greenlee
       I have to admit that it really wasn’t anything to think about. I played defensive back for the Thundering Herd for two seasons, but left the team the year before the crash. As a former teammate, I knew most of the players on that plane.
       So, there was no cause for deliberation. There was no need for me to measure the pros and the cons of making a comeback. My decision had nothing to do with passion for the game, or seeking to accomplish any newly-formulated goals as an athlete on the comeback trail.
       The crash left the school’s football program in a decimated state. The thirty-five guys from the ’70 freshman team were available for duty, along with four varsity guys who didn’t make the fatal road trip. Even so, Marshall still needed more bodies for spring practice.
       Bottom line … it was a matter of pitching in and helping out.
       In my view, we owed “the fellas” that much. It was only fitting that Thundering Herd football continued to press forward—if for no other reason than to honor those who perished. Fielding a team (in the spring) to prepare for the ’71 season was a clear acknowledgement from Marshall’s top brass that the ’70 team’s dedication and devotion was not in vain.
       Given those observations, how could I not go back?
       It was the right thing to do.
       It was the only thing to do.

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