In September, 1962, after Nigeria VI training began at Teacher's College at Columbia University in New York City, 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 Paris where we were being lodged. On the way, we did celebrate a bit and consumed 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 on the White House lawn!
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:
Years later, I did find out that the White House actually loved the telegram and really wanted to do the football game on the White House lawn. Unfortunately, they could not schedule it in time.
In these pictures the volunteers in training are wearing dark tanktops without sleeves over their shirts.
Actual team members:
In the picture below Phil Roden has the ball, Cliff Outlaw is in front of him, Brian Boyle is behind Cliff with his back turned, and Ted Holm is in the middle of the picture.
Below Roden on left, Boyle in
background looking to his right, Tony Heus in center looking away, Cliff Outlaw
going towards ball and Ben Vogel way over in the right corner.
Boyle on left, Heus in middle, Vogel chasing the guy with the ball.
Business School on
offense. Only guys definitely identified are Ted Holm at the right end of the
defensive line and Anthony Palmieri and Cliff Outlaw playing behind the
line on the right.
Boyle on left and Vogel lunging to tag the guy with the ball. Dan Forbes may be behind
the guy in the middle of the picture.