Little Three Weekends from a
Little Three Weekends from a '53 Perspective
Now that the Howards live in drivable distance to all three of the Little Three, we are taking a leaf from Fritz Liss' book and attending the "games that really matter," those for the championship of W-A-W. Saturday, November 5th, found us in Middletown in the heart of the campus on the sunny side of the gridiron sitting in front of, mostly, Williams non-alumni fans. I detected only one other member of the class present. He was in the company of the McWilliamses of Williamstown, Gordon B. being the son of the orthopedist who diagnosed (with dispatch and certainty, while other doctors equivocated) the torn meniscus in my left knee from a scrimmage with Middlebury on Cole Field in September of 1952. I thanked the late Dr. McWilliams by way of his son.
The Wesleyan game was very sloppy, both sides, but the two tall Purple ends made the offensive difference, and Williams won going away 26-9.
The following Saturday, November 12, the scene shifted to Williamstown, Weston Field, again on the sunny side, for the showdown of the Little Three Championship. The weather was more pleasant that we had any right to expect, clear, bright, and warm, even if the white clay sod beneath our feet on the way to the stands was saturated. I surveyed the crowd at the 50 yard line where seats are reserved, more or less, for aging alums, the older the nearer to the ground. We were in row F, suggesting that the Class of 1953 still has a cushion of five rows before hitting the turf. I thought I saw no one from our class until the fellow sitting next to Barbara heard the name of Bob Howard. He smiled beneath his Indiana Jones fedora and identified himself as John McDermott. John makes an annual pilgrimage to Williams at Homecoming Weekend to participate in the Williams Octet Reunion and Concert, this year at Brooks-Rogers where, John reports, the grand piano was his gift to the college. John was scheduled to sing a solo of an Irving Berlin tune in a medley of 1913 golden oldies. We told John that we slept every night in the same room with John McDermott, but I'm not sure he caught our drift. Hopefully, you will.
During half time I said "hello" to one of the Williams Football Fan Club members I had met the previous week. We also chatted with Dick and Carol Chinman ('51), sitting behind us, and the wife of Spencer Hays ('67), about the difficulties of getting children into Williams.
Amherst played Williams to a 10 - 10 tie at the half; but, it seemed clear to me, that Amherst without a running back as effective as Fletcher Ladd the previous year, they would not be able to sustain an offensive game equal to Williams. The Purple defense was as good as it had to be, despite cornerback lapses that made the final score closer than it should have been, 34-23. Along the way to winning, the big ends again did their thing, but a new running back emerged for Williams, Brian Morrissey, who runs with a force belying his size, hardly ever failing to fall forward for an extra yard or two when tackled. He's a freshman, which bodes well for next year.
Morty Schapiro, at a recent gathering of alums in Hartford, indicated that plans were in the works to provide sheltered stands, other than the wooden relic on the visitors' side, for football fans in the next couple of years. But we didn't need it Saturday.