Jerstad-Agerholm Junior High School
In our school district, 9th grade did not mean you were a lowly high school freshman but rather a “9th Grader” in junior high. Was there ever a more perfect example of being a big fish in a small pond? In the words of one of our greatest contemporary philosophers, Rizzo from Grease; “We were ready to rule to school.”
9th grade was the first year one could ‘go out for’ football and so, of course, I did. I never really cared much about football but it was Wisconsin at the end of the Green Bay Packers’ Vince Lombardi/Bart Starr era; not trying out never entered my mind.
I was a second-string offensive (insert witty remark here) tackle. I lost the first-string spot to a nice guy who was 40 pounds heavier; also better. He was dumb as a box of rocks but I am not bitter. I was #75; the same number as the Packers’ Forrest Gregg. I remember that so it must have meant something to me at the time. Maybe he was the only offensive tackle I could name. In his book Run to Daylight, required reading for teenage boys in Wisconsin in those days, Vince Lombardi claimed; “Forrest Gregg is the finest player I ever coached!” The only thing Forrest and I had in common was we both lived in Wisconsin and wore #75. Still, I got enough playing time in our 5-game season against Racine’s other junior highs to get a letter for my sweater. I even managed to convince my girlfriend to wear it. That is what one did back in the day.
I was ‘all that and a bag of chips’.