Strange But True: A Century of Football

In 1869 the first intercollegiate football game was played. By 1969 college football was 100 years old. The National Collegiate Athletic Association got busy with its calculators and arrived at some surprising numbers.

The officials figured out that in football’s first century some 325,000 games had been played. About 900 teams participated, using approximately 2,500,000 players. The games were witnessed by about 750,000,000 fans.

From The Giant Book of More Strange But True Sports Stories by Howard Liss. Illustrations by Joe Mathieu.

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When you can walk its length, and leave no trace, you will have learned.


    • Not to mention hand-egg, which *only rarely* ever touches a foot–and MOST often when touching a foot, results in a stoppage of play & a ruling of the ball/the play being “dead”!

      This is why, ever since I was a kid, and took Russian at Summer Camp, I’ve giggled and thought of them as “Futbol” and “Amerikanski Futbol,” as our teacher (a college professor😉) taught us what Soccer & “American-Style Football” were called😁

      • Wait, you took Russian at summer camp?!  At my summer camp we would play games like taking the amount of TP off a roll that you think you might use for an entire day and then telling everyone something about yourself for every sheet you took.

  1. Yep!!
    We did some things like that at my Girl Scout camp, but I DID once get to go to a sleep-away camp where I learned Russian for two weeks.
    Apparently I’ve ALWAYS been pretty hard-core in my geekiness!😉😂🤣
    Back then, the program was called T-City (the Twin Cities Instutute for Talented Youth). Back then, they were juuuust starting to recruit more kids like me from the outstate, and the surrounding region, now it’s called “MITY,” the Minnesota Instutute for Talented Youth.

    Back then they offered Russian–taught by Gitta Hammarberg, who was a LONG-time Mac Professor (she’s an Emeritus now), and they had things like Videography/Film Editing (those kids made music videos, set to popular songs–one was Poison by Bel Biv Devoe, and we ALL thought it was SUPER COOL, how they managed to sync up the line “If i were you, i’d take precaution” to someone reaching for food from the lunch line!😉😆😂🤣)
    It looks like the age groups have changed a bit, i know we had everyone from 6th-10th(+?) graders in my Russian class. Gitta was a bit of a hard-ass, but NOT in a mean way–just in a “really engaged & in control of her classroom” way.
    It was TONS of fun!
    That summer was the first time I saw Shakespeare–they brought in actors from the Guthrie’s company, the day before we saw Henry V, to explain what we were gonna see “in plain English,” and they taught us the format of iambic Pentameter, so that we’d understand the play, and they *also* taught us all about The St. Crispin’s Day Speech, so that we’d GET the play…
    We also got to go to a Twins Game, and sit in the nosebleed seats out in the upper deck in Left-Center, so we could wave & shout to our favorite players (a reason that i will ALWAYS have a soft spot for Kirby. Seriously, the man smiled, took off his hat, and waved it and his gloved hand at us EVERY.SINGLE.INNING–loooooong after we’d annoyed Gladden & all the other players on the field!😉💖)
    I only went, because I was able to get a scholarship, but it really WAS a life-changing experience.
    Getting to see the Mac campus showed me that poor, rural kids like me COULD fit in, at fancy places. It also taught me that Minneapolis & St. Paul WEREN’T all creepy, gross, and scary places to be–unlike the Midway/ Dinkytown area I was used to (just a mile or so north of Mac, ironically!), which was where we always stayed when we went to the State Fair, or went for my back appointments at Shriners…
    It also started my love of Shakespeare, because Henry V is a HELL of a play, as one’s first Shakespeare! And it’s light years above the R&J that’s too many people’s “First Shakespeare Play”
    And OF COURSE, it reinforced my love of languages. I don’t know tooooo much especially all these years later.
    I can say “my name is____” and I know how to say 1-10, and moooost of the drinking song Gitta taught us😉🤣, and I can still translate, SLOWLY, passably well in Written Russian, because the Letters are Cyrillic like Greek, and it makes them both pretty easy to grok out, once you understand what one shape looks like, and the corresponding English letter.
    Made learning German in HS a bit of hell, though sometimes, because out of NOWHERE, my brain would sometimes pop up with the Russian version of a word I was trying to remember/sound out, and then I’d get all sorts of jumbled up & confused!😆😆😆

      • Gitta was AWESONE!😉😂🤣
        I think she probably won us all over, on the first day of class, when she was the first grownup I’d ever heard say something along the lines of, “…as to Respect in my classroom, I’m NOT going to demand that you respect me, because that’s an impossible demand, and would leave most of you NOT feeling inclined to do so… so I’ll try to EARN your respect as a teacher, and I’ll treat YOU with the same sort of respect I hope you’ll eventually show me.”
        She was the first teacher I ever had, who didn’t simply *expect* that their pupils *ought* to just respect them, on the sheer basis of them being the teacher.
        And I found a link to the song, over on Wikipedia!😉🤣

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