Friday, September 26, 2008

Beware those brothas from Rosenberg

Dammit. I should have known better to thrown my support behind USC so early into the season.

I should have known Oregon State always causes USC problems in Corvallis. I should have remembered that the Trojans are good for one unbelievable conference letdown a year. And I should have remembered the Ketchum Brothers, who like the Rodgers brothers of Oregon State, are from the Richmond-Rosenberg area outside of Houston.

Like most things in my life, it always goes back to my days in little league football. Beware with me for a second, ok? I'm trying to take you somewhere.

To explain: My team, the Southwest Steers, had won 16 straight games, including a league title, dating back to the previous year. I had never lost a game as starting quarterback and we were pretty much the overwhelming favorite to roll to another championship. Saturday mornings were a mere formality for us.

Except this one Saturday in 1989 in Rosenburg. We took on the Rosenberg Roughnecks, a team we had beaten by about four touchdowns the year before. I was so unusually confident that I remember laughing at the scrawny-looking Roughnecks before the game started - the first and only time I ever did such a thing in my playing career.

Then the game started. The Ketchum boys kicked our ass. They were scampering all over the field, completely frustrating our defense like a couple of miniature Barry Sanderses. By the time we figured them out, the Roughnecks had taken a 14-0 lead (the only points we allowed in 10 games that year). But it was too late; we lost by two points.

I'd like to say that I never took another opponent for granted in my life but that would be a lie. However, it was a painful reminder that no victory is won on reputation alone. This is something USC seems to forget everytime the spotlight is off and the stakes don't seem so high. The Trojans have little problem with the Ohio States of the world; it's the Oregon States that always seem to bedevil them.

Anyway, I never saw or heard from the Ketchum Brothers again - they lost in the playoffs before we could properly avenge our defeat in the championship game (the Sugar Land Cowboys had to take that whuppin instead). But watching the Rodgers brothers tonight, I couldn't help but have a flashback to that Saturday morning almost 20 years ago.

You just can't underestimate the heart of them brothas from Rosenberg.

UPDATE: If you want to know what a legendary pee-wee baller looks like, check out Cody Paul.

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