I don’t do this Web site for the results themselves.
Those are a nice byproduct, sure. But compiling the results that make up the bulk of this Web site is little more than data entry.
Instead, I do this for the surprising times when I find the history that everyone else seems to have forgotten about.
Take, for example, this week. On Saturday, I had a little bit of free time before work, so I went up to the second floor of the Natrona County Public Library (which is where the microfilm is, and which is normally where you’ll find me when I have free time and my wife doesn’t).
I was trying to finish up research on 1946 — an interesting year that will be worth a blog post in and of itself when the time comes. But while doing so, I came across an interesting pair of columns written by the Casper Tribune-Herald’s then-sports editor, John Hendrickson.
Read for yourself:
Casper Tribune-Herald, Nov. 13, 1946 — Sideliners by John Hendrickson
“A Worland newspaper pointed out last week that Worland high school played Thermopolis high school for the first time in 1921 . . . Thermop won the first game 33 to 19 while Worland took the second game (played that Armistice Day) 109 to 7 . . . A fellow named Meadows for Worland scored 12 touchdowns and 11 field goals for a total of 83 points, in that one game . . . down it goes in our record books as the best scoring exhibition in state football history . . . I doubt if there has been any better performance.”
Casper Tribune-Herald, Nov. 18, 1946 (five days later) — Sideliners by John Hendrickson
“Last week we pointed out that Worland defeated Thermopolis 109 to 7 in 1921 and believed the score to be a record for Wyoming high schools. We have been informed, however, by “One of the Old Timers” — and we still can’t figure out why people don’t want to sign their names to letters we get — that in the same year Cheyenne defeated Douglas 127 to 7.
“Our informant says “The first play of the game saw a Douglas player pick up a fumble and race the length of the field for a touchdown. The extra point was good and Douglas led 7 to 0. From that time on it was all Cheyenne.
“”I believe that this was Douglas’ first football team. Prior to 1920 there were but four high schools with football teams — Cheyenne, Laramie, Casper and Sheridan. Laramie and Cheyenne played the Colorado schools for the most part and in preceding years had frequently played the University of Wyoming and from time to time had been victors over the university.
“”After the Cheyenne and Douglas game one of the Douglas players asked a Cheyenne player what he wore on his shoulders. When told that they were shoulder pads, the Douglas boy remarked that he would have to get himself a pair. The Douglas team had played the entire game without them.”
“Thanks “Old Timer” for the interesting facts!”
Pretty cool, eh?
These two articles inspired me in a pair of ways. First, the obvious: scoring records. Albeit the information is second-hand, I at least have a place to start.
Second, the not-so-obvious: Despite my self-proclaimed expertise on Wyoming football, one thing I’ve never been able to pin down for certain is the origin of the sport at Wyoming’s high-school level.
In part, that’s on purpose, because I’ve worked from the present backward in every step of this research. In part, it’s because no one else has tried to pin down Wyoming’s high school football origins, either.
But this whole “1920″ date is incredibly encouraging. That’s “only” 31 more years of reverse research — and that I can do.
This Web site is a project I will never “finish,” and I’ve accepted that fact. But I can get darn near close to done — and certainly closer than anyone ever has before me. Right now, I have 57 years of completed research (1951-2007) and another five years of incomplete research (1946-50). But…. at my current pace, I WILL be able to finish the majority of work from 1920-1950 in the next five years.
Of course, that means I have to hope that “One of the Old Timers” is telling the truth, and that John Hendrickson wasn’t the victim of some cruel joke back in 1946….
Anyway… My point is that this project WILL be “finished,” and likely sooner than I even think.