THE WILL TO WIN AND THE HEART OF A CHAMPION
The heart of a champion may be found in many-sized uniforms. The great Walter “Eckie” Eckersall of Chicago performed his remarkable feats while weighing 138 pounds. Because of his diminutive size the All-American quarterback inspired many others of similar build.
Tad Weed was the Big Ten’s smallest football player in the early 1950’s weighing 128 pounds and only 5 feet and 5 inches tall. In the 1955 Rose Bowl game he missed a field goal for Ohio State and subsequently punished himself by vowing to kick 10,000 in a row- the 10,000th blindfolded. Later he provided the margin for victory in helping upset the Cleveland Browns in the 1955 College All-Star game by kicking three field goals and two extra points. Did you know: The WEED Tennis Racquet was invented in the early 1970’s by Thurlow ‘Tad’ Weed, who started playing tennis but was always hitting overheads on the throat. The racquet became a favorite among ranked senior players who saw the benefit of having a larger hitting area to generate added power and steady play.
As far as lightweight pros are concerned, Atlanta Falcons Bob Etter weighed only 152 pounds. Charley Durkee while playing for the New Orleans Saints weighed 165 pounds. Even if he only 5 feet and 2 inches tall and weighs just 114 pounds, Dene Garner found a niche in Salt Lake City’s Alta High School. As a sophomore (1980) he converted 5 of his first 7 field goal attempts and all 12 of his first dozen extra points. In practice he got a 55-yarder.
The Will and the desire to be a part of the great game of football have allowed many young men to participate who otherwise would have had to be spectators because of their size, or because of some particular physical handicap. The kicking game has often provided the opportunity for rewarding such dedication.
Excerpts from The Kicks That Count book written by Hugh E. Stephenson, Jr., M.D.