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Not the 1900 Niles Football Team
|All I knew of Ring's involvement in Niles football was what I read in his
1923 American Magazine article, "What I Ought to of Learnt in
School," quoted below. Because the article is in vernacular and thus in
character, I wasn't really sure how much of what he said was true. I still don't.
I am sure that he was on the team, though.
Then I found a wonderful picture of what I was told was the 1900 Niles Football team. I bought it. Ring was clearly there. I asked why so many of the players looked older than they should have been in high school. The seller's speculation was that "people back then looked older." I have also found that to be true.
At any rate, a fine guy named Craig Jacobs began researching the 1900 Niles team for their centennial celebration. My picture wasn't of them. Instead, the picture shows an alumni game, probably in 1907. Old players would get together and knock each other around for fun.
The football photo below shows a healthy Ring with the rest of the team. (The team members, left to right, are Ring Lardner, Coach Warren Griffith, Karl B. Schmidt, Walter Wood, Horace Correll, Leslie Platt, Charles White, Unknown Platt, George Hoppen, Unknown, Unknown, Abe Green, and Edward Wurz.
Click on the picture to see a full-size jpeg
|Ring downplayed his football abilities as he did most of his other
abilities. Getting on the team, according to him, was a matter of having a ball:
"Well the high school team could not play football without a football and they
could not play football with my football unlest I played with it too, so I didn't have no
trouble making the team and it was a high school team which you couldn't be on it unlest
you was a high school student, so I was safe till Thanksgiving at lease."
|The 1900 team did qualify for the playoffs, but lacked the money to actually participate. Albion was declared winner by default. In the championship game against Ishpeming, Albion was not the winner: "The Ishpeming boys, who worked in lumber camps all summer and used trees for tackling dummies, had win by the narrow margin of 81 to 0, and the Albion football team's parents had leased the university hospital at Ann Arbor for the winter months." Perhaps Niles was better off not going.|