M.D., your mention of Alpha Sigma Delta fraternity. brings up another memory and another "rumble." It was the fall of 1958. Charley Red, Lanning and I were Birmingham boys who belonged to a fraternity called Chi Sigma Chi, known as the Chi Sigs. The Alpha Sigma Delta's, called Sigmas, to which M.D., Ehney Camp, Kip Porter, and David Strickland belonged, had for years held the championship title for interfraternity football. They were the socially elite, and the physically domineering at the time. The Chi Sigs were a little more diverse socially and in previous years had been known as wusses. Then there were the Kobe's, who were wusses for sure, and to which Bibbo belonged. And the Tau's who were sort of hoodlumish. And the Phi Delta Pi's who were thought of as Homewood boys rather than Mtn. Brook.
Back to the tale. It was the fall of 1958. The Sigmas had won all its football games. The Chi Sigs had won all it had played. The big game for the championship was to be held on a Sunday at the Mountain Brook School football field. This promised to be a knock down, drag out football game with real blocking, real tackling, real referees, and real spectators. Now don't totally get the wrong idea. We still looked like a rag-tag bunch. As I recall, we had no matchiing uniforms; just helmets, pads, jerseys, shoes and pants we each had at home. In the huddle we didn't call plays like, "T47 left on 3." It was more like "everybody go long on 2."
The Chi Sigs to which Jerry, Charley and I belonged were a little nervous. We were about to play the invincible. In fact, the tension got so high that our tailback suddenly came down with an ailment on the day of the game and said he couldn't play. With his cowardly withdrawal, old Charley Red had to step into the spot and play tailback. Jerry played a mean tackle, offense and defense. I played end, both ways also. Everybody played bothways. This was no professional team, you know.
A half hour or so before the game, the Chi Sigs started to arrive at the field. We sort of straggled in, a player here, a couple players there, and so on. There were no Sigmas to be seen. It got closer and closer to game time, and still no sign of the feared defending champs!!
Suddenly, maybe 10 minutes before the game was to start, a cavalcade of cars appeared, blowing horns and carrying the dreaded Sigmas en masse. It was a giant parade. Some were standing in convertibles, others hanging from windows. And as they drove to the field, they chanted in unison "ODIN, ODIN, ODIN" calling on the Norse god from the Kirk Douglas movie of that year, "The Vikings."
Man, that was tense! This was a complete psych job. You couldn't have driven a hat pin up my sphincter with a ball peen hammer! We wanted to turn tail and run, but we'd have been called "chicken" so that was out.
We began the game and it was a pretty good struggle. In the 4th quarter, the Sigms led 12 to 6. They held us for 3 downs and Charley Red went back to punt on their 40. He blew the kick and the ball went straight up. It came down on the line of scrimmage and landed on its nose. Then it began to tumble end over end toward the goal line the Sigmas were defending. It tumbled and tumbled and we followed it down to the 1 yard line and downed it. The Sigmas let out a howl you could hear in Alabaster. They screamed in the referee's face that a ball couldn't be downed inside the 10 yard line. You know how kids come up with their own rules sometimes. The ref said the ball could be downed inside the 10, and the Sigmas took over at the 1. We held them for 3 downs and they punted. Somehow we managed to get in for a score and the game was tied at 12 to 12. About 15 seconds remained.
We went into the huddle and Charley Red called the crucial play for the extra point. "Hill, buttonhook on 3." I asssumed the 3 point stance and Charley began the count. On 3, I took 4 steps and turned. The big boy drilled the ball into my gut and we won the game 13 to 12. (Two point conversions weren't in the rule book back then).
There was no "Odin, Odin,Odin" as the Sigmas left the field. But there were some tears.