Football doesn’t start until we get the Slippery Rock score.

Slippery Rock Football
Slippery Rock Football

Football isn’t here yet.

Oh, I know. I know. Some games have been played.

And some prognosticators, based upon these beginning games, have even more or less declared the eventual champions.

But football isn’t even here yet.

Not really.

Not fully.

Not in the way that counts.

For one thing, there is no nip o’ fall in the air.

No nip o’ fall that for certain signals that football is fully, finally here.

Not here in our sizzling neck of the woods.

Roger Summers
Roger Summers

No, not here – here where the soaring heat shows we are next door, zero-lot-line neighbors to the sun – where that initial nip o’ fall won’t show up until the first football weekend in October.

Of course, that oft-argued thing called global warming could change the timing of the first nip.

But our accurate reading of autumn’s arrival has worked for years. So we’re sticking with it.

One of our other indicators that football is here is, sadly, gone.

That was hearing Kern Tips’ familiar, reassuring voice signing on the air and broadcasting that Southwest Conference football was here, proudly brought to you by Humble Oil and Refining Company.

Now that made football season official.

Kern Tips’ voice on the radio assured us, that, yes, we were ready for some football.

But Kern Tips is gone.

The Southwest Conference is gone.

Humble Oil and Refining Company is gone.

There is one other indicator, though, that football season fully has arrived.

But maybe it is gone, too.

At least semi-gone.

Or going.

At least we have not heard it, although we still are listening for it.

Hoping for it.

What’s that, you say?

The Score.

Not just any score.

The Score.

Announced on the car radio.

Announced far, far down on the football score list on the car radio as some of us guys rode back from out-of-town football game on a dark night on a quiet highway and smoked cigars and anxiously awaited The Score.

Broadcasters would give the scores of the football powerhouses first, of course.

Ohio State, Wisconsin, UCLA, Oklahoma, Texas, Notre Dame . . .

That would take a while.

Cause us to burn through most of our cigars.

Grow more anxious.

But what’s The Score?

Give us The Score.

The Score?

Why, the Slippery Rock score.

When you with certainty heard it on the radio, and, to a lesser extent, on TV, you knew football season officially was with us.

Everybody who was a bona fide football fan wanted – no, needed – to know The Score of that proud little team in Pennsylvania.

Why, some of the big boy colleges even made a point of announcing the Slippery Rock score at their home games. The crowds would cheer, maybe even louder than they did for the home team.

But The Score of Slippery Rock announced on the radio and TV seems to have gotten somewhat lost in the shuffle.

Not important enough in these days when football score broadcasts have gone all snooty, all uptown, all self-important on us.

Too arrogant to let us know the one score we really want to know.

So we often are forced to resort to Google to find out.

Googling to find The Score is not the same as getting The Score on the radio and TV.

It loses something.

It does not officially signal that football season is here.

So, we’ll fight on, anxiously turning the dial – back and fourth, up and down – in our never-ending quest for The Score.

All the while faithfully, loudly singing:

Go Green and White Team

This will be our day

Rock Pride resounding

We will win the fray

Our team is fighting

Courage to the core

Rock Pride is mounting

S-R-U forever more!

Ooh Rock. . . ooh Rock. . . SRU

Ooh Rock. . . ooh Roc . . . SRU

GOooooooo . . . ROCK!!!

Wait! Wait!

What’s that?

This just in . . .

Slippery Rock 58, Shippensburg 38.

Score one for me.

Rock on.

But wait, wait.

I’m sure I just felt a nip in the air.

Football is here.

And, uh, by the way, anyone out there know a dependable way to get the Shippensburg score?

Shippensburg.

Shippensburg.

Shippensburg.

Nice ring to it.

Another endearing name, like Slippery Rock.

And Snitterfield, England, one of our other favorites.

Just think how Shippensburg would sound on the radio rundown of football scores.

There in its very own place.

Right there on the radio on the highway ride home from a football game, there where the cigars are being smoked, enjoyed.

Right there with Slippery Rock U.

Football doesn’t get any better.

Can’t.

Rock on.

Rock, rock on.

Roger Summers is a journalist and essayist who spends time in Texas, New Mexico and England and in a world of curiosity and creativity. He can be reached at wrsummers@sbcglobal.net.

Washboard RoadPlease click the book cover to read more about his short story collection on Amazon.

 

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