Wednesday, November 1, 2017

'Mid the shouts and cheering of the throng...Part 2

The following feature story (with my byline) appeared in one of the year’s last issues of  our school newspaper, the Campus Corral:

A player in orange leaps high for the ball…he has it…he’s running…dodging…it’s over the line…it’s a touchdown! The stands go wild with cheering as the points flash magically onto the scoreboard.
Suddenly a hush falls over the crowd. Mr. Homer Anderson, director of the Bobcat Band, raises his baton; hundreds of loyal fans break into singing.
“On ye Bobcats!” they cry lustily. “Bust right through that line! Take the ball around the end, boys, you are doing fine! Rah! Rah! Rah! On ye Bobcats, on ye Bobcats, let’s have a touchdown! So fight, fellows, fight, fight, fight, and gain some ground!”
This has been the cry of loyal Bobcats for over a quarter of a century. Thirty-three years ago, in 1928, Mr. E.L. Nunnally, Sr., then principal of San Angelo High School, presented the student body with this pep song that he had written.
That same year brought the advent of a second song to the tune of “Bye, Bye Blackbird”. This was also written by Mr. Nunnally. His son, Mr. E.L. Nunnally, Jr., recalls the words went something like this:

Brace up, boys, and face your foe,
Hit ‘em high, hit ‘em low.
Rah, rah, Bobcats!
When somebody blocks your way,
Knock them out and win the fray.
Rah, rah, Bobcats!
Around 1931, the “Angelo Fight” appeared. The music was composed by Mr. Carl B. Stone, the predecessor to our present band director, and the late Mr. Harold W. Broome wrote the following words:
We’re going to fight, fight for Angelo.
We’re going to win where ‘ere we go.
We proudly show our loyal colors,
Carry high the Orange and Blue.
Come join our song while the team goes in.
Let’s tell the world they are out to win.
So Angelo fight, play with all your might,
For the Orange and the Blue.

In 1933, as the Depression was ending (my note: it wasn’t really ending, but times seemed better, apparently), the school spirit of SAHS was at its peak. In the fall of that year, pep leaders Anna Lee Spires, Mary Katheryne Gill, and Maxine Mayes decided that a new or official school song was a “must” for the high school. With the aid of Wanda Kimberlin, another student, they set out to find the right song.
One afternoon while going through a book of official college songs, the four girls hit upon a song which they agreed was “it”. With a few changes and substitutions suggested by Maxine Mayes, and the addition of the two lines from The Eyes of Texas, they pronounced the song ready for presentation to the student body.
Although the exact origination of the music has not been established, it seems to have been managed by the four girls with some aid from Mr. Carl B. Stone.
At an assembly on October 15, 1933, the four girls and the Rooting Regiment leaders presented the song with one or two alternates to the student body. A vote resulted in the selection of what is now the official school song.
‘Mid the shouts and cheering of the throng…
See Monday’s blog for the full text

The use of this song during the 1933 season was one of the “firsts” in football history of SAHS.  At that time, Mr. Harry Taylor and Mr. Edd B. Keyes, now Tom Green County judge, were the coaches. The team that year defeated Sweetwater to win the district championship and went on to the state semi-finals.
Mary Katheryne Gill, now Mrs. Joe McCollum of Denver City, Texas, tells it this way:

During 1933, we were still feeling the pinch of the Depression. The school furnished the pep squad girls’ skirts and sweaters, and how long they had been there, heaven only knows! Some were rather ‘moth-eaten’. The pep leaders (boys and girls) had to buy their own uniforms--or did at any rate. But a ‘livelier and truer-blue’ bunch of kids you couldn’t find any place! Our band was quite small--with no uniforms at all. From some place, a drum major’s hat and baton were acquired, and our drum major, Obie Grief, could ‘strut’ with the best of them.
The average team weight of the players was quite light, but they really had ‘the old team spirit’, and most of the students had the ‘school spirit’. With that combination and the team’s successes, I firmly believe that we caused the city folk to become more football-minded than they had ever been. True, there were good teams before and good teams since, but 1933 was ‘our year’--the year it all started.

Of course, I signed the paper with the obligatory encircled 30 which, in the world of journalism means The End.

But it wasn’t the end, not by a long shot. The writer of that wonderful letter became a special friend until the day she died…and I’ll tell you more about my “Miss Kitty” on Friday.

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