I recall when the first “touch” football team was formed in Tia Juana back in either 1955 or 1956.

Until one of the parents came up with the idea the boys in the camp had been playing touch football at the old vacant lot, we played in the late afternoon when it was cooler and in the vacant lot because there was a streetlight situated where it cast its light on most of the play area. I recall we played what seems to me now as all the time. We were about ages 11 and 12 then.

Well, some of the men in camp formed a “touch” football team consisting of us boys. None of the older boys played; ie: ages 15 and up. We were given colored jerseys with numbers on the back that identified the Tia Juana team. We practiced during the summer under the lights of the outfield of the baseball field adjacent to the Country Club. We had to wait until the coaches had eaten supper before practicing. I remember running punishment laps around the field because of something I did. Not unusual as I had an attitude most of the time when it came to taking any parental instructions.

I recall the coaches running us through exercise moves up and down the field to build our stamina. I had little or no stamina as I was not much interested in sports and was participating solely at the encouragement of my father and mother -- I was a “couch potato” at that time.

The only game I recall playing was an evening game against La Salina which the Tia Juana team won and it was played under the ball field lights on a field marked off with lime. To my total amazement, I actually caught a pass and ran for a touch down. There were many families attending that game as I recall. Maybe that's why I have the memories. Anyway, after that game the coaches held a team party in the Country Club and each of the team members received a small gold plated football on a neck chain for having played the season.

I still have the football somewhere in the house.

Those childhood friends that would have played:
Tommy Green; Phillip Short; Palmer Bazemore; Randy Lanciault; Eddie Robinson; Larry Sandlin; Jose Anez; John Yarbro;Randy Sharpe; Gibb Botts; Dan Sweeney; Jules Lang.

 

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