A vivid emotional high school football memoir that details the camaraderie and bonds that develop with the game; how the love and need for it can override the dangers of the sport; and how the gridiron never really leaves a player. Football is a tough sport. Jeff Rooney learned that the hard way after being knocked unconscious, for three hours, from a hit during a game. He returned to the gridiron the next season wearing a special helmet to co-lead his team in their quest for the championship.
Follow the true five-year journey of a group of "Air Force brats" and their shared love for the game of football. The gridiron forever bonded them as brothers, and that bond has lasted a lifetime. They were shades of green and gold and from a small high school called Vanden. Their story is told through the eyes of one of those friends, and it details the wild and emotional times they shared on the field and off. They recorded 45 wins, 4 losses and 2 ties. They had three undefeated seasons.
How I went from an altar boy and Boy Scout to this personality on the football field I really didn’t know. I knew when I shelved my shoulder pads and helmet for the last time, “Psycho” was going to be buried. There was no place for him outside the gridiron. He was created there and would stay there. As my feet left the grass for the last time he and I would part ways.
One of the many things that drew me to the game was the play on the gridiron. Having a front-row seat to the action on the field was something I would’ve paid to watch. To see Bryan make a long run look easy; Ronnie throw a perfect pass or easily juke a linebacker in open-field; or one of my teammates make a crushing block or a devastating hit close-up was indescribable. I was only feet away as my teammates would do things most people couldn’t do. It was awe-inspiring at times. It was also humbling to share the same grass with them. I knew I had been blessed to have a second chance to play. I also knew I was playing with guys that honored football with their efforts. I was sharing the field with legends and knew it.
We were Vikings, name-takers, and stuntmen, and football needed us. We gave it everything. We lived a secret life riding on the roof of speeding cars trying to record the fastest time. We were fearless on the gridiron and off. We’ll be remembered, not for our victories but for our journey and our love for the game. It was made for guys like us. We honored it with our fight and our bond. We Took Names.
Thirty years after our championship season we returned to Vanden High School for our first reunion as men, fathers and grandfathers. The book contains quotes from some coaches and players and "Where are they now?"