Sunday, July 12, 2009

I forgot my belly ache

I was seven years old that Halloween night in 1959. My father, a graduate of LSU, took our family to homecoming games nearly every year until the late '60s. I believe this night we were seated in the north end, way up high. Whichever end zone, our view was to Billy Cannon's back during the famous run. Yes, The Run. Those of a certain age who follow college football, whether their team was way up in the north or way out west, know about The Run. Yep, I was there. I saw it.

It was a spooky night, the stage set for something uncanny. An eerie fog had drifted into and settled around the stadium, with patches of it on the playing field. The Tigers were playing their arch-nemesis Ole Miss. LSU was #1 in the nation, and Ole Miss was #3. The previous year, LSU won the national championship, undefeated, and at the end of this '59 season, Billy Cannon won the Heisman Trophy.

In the first half, the Rebels got a field goal, and that score stood at the intermission. As the second half opens, my gut starts hurting. I've always suffered from a nervous stomach, and it might all have stemmed from the exotic stress of that evening. Who knows? Stomach got worse and worse, until I was fairly doubled over in pain. I might even have squeezed out a few whimpering tears.

The score still stood at 3 - zip as the fourth quarter opened. The Rebel's punter sent a boomer toward the receiver standing on the 11-yard line -- Billy freakin' Cannon! He took it on a bounce and then began bounding off into legend. He sloped toward the right-hand side lines, and as you'll see in the video, he eluded the grasp of seven tacklers.

He. Would. Not. Go. Down.

And I forgot all about my stomach ache.

But it wasn't over yet. Late in that concluding quarter, Ole Miss drove to a first down on LSU's seven-yard line. LSU held them four downs...wouldn't let them gol-darned Rebels in the end zone. A tremendous goal-line stand.

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