Chapter 94

October 21, 1922   Game Day   Centre-Harvard

The Colonels awoke on Saturday morning and raised their windows in the Lenox and found that the weather was going to be perfect for a football game, slightly cool but not uncomfortably so, with clear skies showing not even a hint of a cloud for as far as one could see.

I was about as excited as a person could be. Crep and I got dressed and went down to the lobby and I asked at the desk if I had a message, but there was nothing in our key box. That sort of worried me, but when I turned around, there was Howard Reynolds standing there with a big smile and he said, "Red, were you looking for something?"

He handed me an envelope and I opened it up and there was a press pass with my name on it, and I felt like he'd handed me the keys to the kingdom! It had, "Press Pass," and "Boston Post" and right under was my name, "Red Robertson." I was set!

There were some Kentuckians who were going to go out to Harvard to tour the campus, and I was able to get in their cab and they let me out near the stadium.

I was early and tried to get in but the gates were locked, and then some guard saw my pass and told me there was a special entrance for "members of the press," and I wondered why he told me that when all of a sudden I realized that I was a "member of the press," or at least that's what it said on my pass.

The press entrance was open and I showed my badge, feeling like a pretty big shot. I climbed up to the press box and couldn't believe how many papers were going to be represented. There were little signs with the papers' name written on them, showing where the different reporters were supposed to sit. Of course, all the Boston papers had spots, but it seemed that there were just as many from New York, and there were places for the wire services, the papers from Louisville and Lexington, and both of the Danville papers, the "Messenger" and "Advocate," and Hartford and a lot of other cities had signs, too. Syracuse and others, I can't remember all of them.

It made me appreciate all the more how much attention Centre was getting. Could you believe it? All of these reporters were going to write stories about our team!

There was a telegraph machine to send reports back to Danville and cities across Kentucky. And there was the set-up for the radio broadcast that Uncle Charlie had mentioned the day before.


Later in the day, the press box began to fill. Everybody, it seemed, smokedĀ­ cigarettes, cigars, pipes- the area was filled with smoke, which I didn't mind, because I loved the smell.

Howard Reynolds came in and everybody greeted him by his first name, and it was obvious that he was respected, and he should have been, because he was the sports editor of the "Post."

He introduced  me around and one of the reporters, I think it was Grantland Rice, heard that I was from Centre and he asked me if I knew the players and their numbers, and of course, nobody knew them better than I did.

So he asked me if I'd be the "spotter" for Centre. He said it was hard to watch the game, try to figure out who made a play by checking the program, and type, all at once. He didn't say it, but I thought, and smoke, too.

He told me that they had a "spotter" for Harvard, and he was really important because Harvard's players didn't have numbers. Their coaches felt it was a "team game," and numbers made people concentrate on individuals instead of the team, which didn't make any sense to me, but who was I to say anything?

So, of course, I said I'd be the "spotter," and he told me to stand in the middle of the press box when the game began, and to holler out real loud something like, "Covington ran the ball," or, "Kubale and Jones made the tackle," not to get fancy, just holler out, and the Harvard fellow would do the same.

I must have done a good job, because there was an article in the Boston "Herald" the next day about how "Red" Roberts' son had made it to Boston on the team's car and been the "spotter" for the press.

As I said earlier, "Unbelievable!"

Red Robertson's mother wrote on the article before saving it. Mention is made that "he beat his way from Danville to the big game..." which seems to be a satisfactory way to describe someone who hid under the team's Pullman seats hidden in a ball bag on the way to Boston.

The morning of the game, the "Harvard Crimson" ran a short story about the game.

Two years ago the daily papers rang with a telegram from the governor of Kentucky to the Centre football team.

Harvard "Crimson" reprint regarding story from 1920 game about Governor Morrow's 1920 telegram

Everyone remembers that game in 1920. And everyone remembers last year's game when the same team came back like eleven men inspired and nosed out the University, 6-0.

The University is far from underestimating its opponent. Centre's record has commanded the admiring respect of every football critic in the country ever since the colorful little college appeared on the athletic horizon. The game this afternoon will be one to remember.