I began playing tackle football in the sixth grade on the Virginia Gardens team, as Miami Springs didn’t have a team yet. I would ride my bike about a mile-and-a-half each way after school to Blessed Trinity field in full pads from my home at the corner of Hammond and Westward Drive. After a couple hours of practice the trip home was a long and slow one. Once a week or so I would stop at Grace’s Deli for a Coke before starting home. I think it cost a nickel in 1959, if memory serves me, which it sometimes does.
I liked the physical contact as it was a socially acceptable way to release my frustrations. Wayne McMullen was our halfback- running back now- and he was amazingly fast. I used to enjoy just watching him run- a smooth, short, compact graceful stride, almost like ballet it was so coordinated, with no wasted movements. At times he didn’t seem to be touching the ground. I was glad he was on our side because Wayne could fly.
There was only one guy who could run with him and they would race each other after practice. The other guy was taller and wasn’t as graceful or compact in his long strides- head down, focused and determined, arms pumping and legs churning, it turned out that Theodore could fly too.