Football and the White House

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Football and the White House

After Nigeria VI training began, we found out that the university had an intramural touch football league. Several of us, who considered ourselves as jocks or semi-jocks [ we were out of college by 4 months or so then ] decided to put together a team and join the league.

Nigeria VI was put into the undergraduate fraternity league. We were able to win all of our games, and made it to the "league finals."

Being dedicated Peace Corps trainees, we prevailed in the "league finals" and then had to play in the university championship game. Our opponent was the team from the Graduate Columbia School of Business. I actually recognized several of the players having played against them in Rugby while I was in college. They were big!.

Fortunately, the day of the Championship Game was misty, damp and muddy. No cleats were allowed. So our smaller, lighter, but more agile team won! After the game, we returned to the hotel where we were staying. On the way, we did consume some adult beverages.

When we got back to the hotel, feeling not too much pain, I went to the desk clerk and told him that I wanted to send a telegram [ remember those?]. I told him I wanted to send a telegram to President John F. Kennedy. So, I sent a telegram to the White House announcing that Nigeria VI were the intramural football champions of Columbia University and challenging the President and his family to a game of touch football!

The telegram got through, because, within 48 hours our DC liaison was at Columbia asking who sent the telegram? Everyone looked at me!

Oh, I didn't get kicked out, but I was worried. Anyway, shortly thereafter, Red Smith wrote the following syndicated column which appeared in a number of newspapers:

Red Smith, 1963
Red Smith, 1963
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