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tBBC Sunday Morning Coffee: October 23, 1892

Discussion in 'News' started by jcollingsworth, Aug 7, 2016.

  1. Sunday Morning Coffee: October 23, 1892
    jcollingsworth
    via our good friends at Buckeye Battle Cry
    Visit their fantastic blog and read the full article (and so much more) here


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    Frederick Douglas Patterson stood in the window of his tenement building within walking distance to the Ohio State University. He was now in his second year at the University as a student in Mathematics and as a member of the football team. He sipped at a steaming cup of coffee he had just brewed, enjoying it with an enormously as it aided in turning his attention from the soreness he now experienced from the game before at Recreation Park down off Schumacher Place sand Jaeger Street.

    Fred had a lot of pressure boiling of late in his life. He wanted to pursue his college ambitions yet his father C.R. Patterson had been sending a steady flow of letters applying the guilt trip in his plan to get Fred back to help with the family business – The Patterson Carriage Company in Greenfield – which made horse carriages. Fred sometimes wished he could just pack a bag with as little as possible and jump on a train to Canada. He had heard some great things of the country up north – especially of their welcoming of African Americans.

    In 1888 Fred was the first black student to graduate High School in Greenfield, Ohio. The hoopla and attention was only focused within the small black community of the area. It was a huge deal, but little outside of this community, knew of it. Frankly most just did not care. So Fred would be determined by this disrespect and eventually enroll into The Ohio State University with the dream of getting a degree in Mathematics and journeying elsewhere to assure that other African-American children would have the opportunity he had – which was far from any gift. No one gave him anything. He earned that diploma and he would make sure that the children he taught knew that whatever success they had would be of their own making.

    Taking another sip of the steaming cup of coffee as he watched the children outside playing in the street, tag, or hit and run, childish craziness, but it brought a smile to his sad face. Fred was the first black player for the Buckeyes – joining the team the year before when Alexander Lilly was still the head coach. Coach Lilly cared less of his race, only wanting hard as nails players. The new coach – Jack Ryder – a little young Fred thought. The coach was merely twenty-one, the same age as Fred. It seemed so odd. Wasn’t coaching for the gray-haired experience?

    To even muster such a thought made Fred laugh. He took another sip from his cup of scorching coffee as now steam formed on the window from which he stood looking out from. A swift swipe with his hand allowed him to continue to watch the children in the street play.

    He had to admit that Coach Ryder’s ordering at the beginning of the season of closed practices was genius. It took away all distractions and allowed everyone to learn the game that was new to them in every way. Coach Ryder’s presentation of what the press was now calling ‘Ryder’s Wedge’ was funny. Coach Ryder told all the players he had created it when he was at Williams College two years before – asking everyone “How far down the sewage drain was Columbus?”

    ‘Ryder’s Wedge’ played tremendously in the results of the day before against Buchtel. The Buckeyes would completely destroy them – 62-0. It all started off as fun. The outmatched Buchtel players all seemed to run this way when the ball went that way. It was like watching clowns at the circus. Fred now laughed out loud. He was the center of the ‘Ryder’s Wedge’ which was a semi-circular formation of five players – he being the center, along with Hamilton Richardson and John Mathers posted on the left and Charles Foulk and A.G. Griffith on the right – allowing the backs Bill Reed, C.C. White, and R.E. Krumm to just run with abandonment against the shoddy Buchtel defense. But after a while Fred felt some empathy for the Buchtel ‘clowns’ as the Buckeyes began to refer to them as in the third quarter.

    As the game ended the majority of the Buchtel players left the field without any acknowledgement to the Buckeyes. Fred could hardly blame them. It was an embarrassment they had just experienced in front of the relatively large crowd at Recreation Field – some were saying it bordered 2,000. Fred though made a point of approaching the Buchtel quarterback who looked as if he had some black blood – though everyone said he was Sicilian because his name was Pedro Manganui – Fred had a different hunch. In their private conversation Fred would learn that Pedro’s Grandmother was African and was the best cooker of fish this side of Sicily. It was a positive moment for Fred and he would keep Pedro’s secret just that – secret.

    He looked into his cup. The coffee was all gone. He stared for one last time at the children playing in the street before stepping back to the coal burning stove in the center of his tiny room. There rested a tin pot and the strong and blistering hot coffee he had made. He poured another cup before sitting at the table next to the cot he slept in. He ripped a piece of bread from the loaf he had bought two days before at Ananelli’s Bread Bakery just down the street. Again he reflected on the win from the day before. It was Coach Ryder’s first victory with the Buckeyes which pleased Fred. Coach Ryder, though young, was intuitive and wise to this new game called football. He assured Fred who protested mildly after the victory that running up the score looked rather “unsportsman” that it wasn’t as it appeared. “We must master the wedge. There will be a day that another team will show off their knowledge, athletic skills, and will to decimate an opponent. That day, that opponent, will be us. Its humankind and the way we are. Destroy those whom we can. And suck up to those whom we cannot.” Fred laughed. He hardly agreed – but within the realms of its oddities it seemed to be right.

    The post Sunday Morning Coffee: October 23, 1892 appeared first on The Buckeye Battle Cry: Ohio State News and Commentary.

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