The book about my time coaching in Germany is coming along quite well, I think. I’ve written about 25,000 words… about 1/4 done and gotten through our third game…A miserable day at Frankfurt that now I can put away forever!
Here is an excerpt about a much better day… Our first home game at Lindenhof.
…During warm-ups, Coach Frank wants to talk about the starting lineup. He doesn’t want Steve to start at running back. Steve hasn’t yet practiced with us and it would send a bad message if an import can step off the plane and into the starting lineup. I agree. Not knowing the language, I’m not qualified to deal with the political or disciplinary reasons that often determine who ought to be on the field. I tell Frank and Leo to take care of substitutions and just let me know who’s in the game.
Later I hear that starting Kevin Kienzle at running back came as a positive surprise to the players, who assumed and feared the imports would take over the team.
The difference between Lindenhof and the TSB is huge. I’d been disappointed by the setting of our first game, but I’m impressed today. The atmosphere is fantastic. The stadium holds around 1000 people, but it seems perfect for us. By kickoff nearly every seat is filled and several hundred line the low rise on the far sideline. The Razorback fans are loud and boisterous, banging drums and blowing horns. Somebody brought a portable, homemade electronic scoreboard on a flatbed trailer, still no clock, but it’s something.
During pre-game introductions the players emerge from an actual locker room below the stands at the 50-yard-line. Non-starters come first, hoisting the Razorback flag as they mob together at mid-field. The PA announcer introduces each starter, who climbs the steps to run through canned smoke and a double line of Razorback cheerleaders. European audiences enjoy the spectacle surrounding American football and, at Lindenhof, the Razorback organization puts on quite a show.
It’s a perfect football day, a slight chill in the air and bright, sunny skies. From the covered stands the view is beautiful. Green wooded hills and the towers and palaces of downtown Weingarten. With a large and enthusiastic crowd in the new stadium, the pageantry is exciting to be a part of; I just hope we give these people something to cheer about when the game starts.
We do and it doesn’t take long. Starting from our 40, Kevin runs an inside zone for four. I call a freeze, the Wilddogs jump and Martin snaps the ball…free play. We take advantage of it when Micki makes a great catch for a 20-yard gain. A GT to Kevin for 15, another IZ for 7, and a quick hitch to Joris from the 13, who catches it, turns inside and scores. Five plays into the season and we’re up 7-0…