The ’82 Nordics

***I did not make the reunion of my fellow teammates this week-end however I hope they have a good time Friday night!**

The ’82 Nordics

Lisa has often found me in front of the television watching a documentary on the 1985 Chicago Bears football team. 1985 stands alone for the Bears as a memorable season which ended with a Super Bowl win. I have watched it so many times because it reminds me of an experience I enjoyed three years prior to the Bears big season. That experience was-the ’82 Nordics.

A group of men in their fifties will gather this Friday for a little slice of history. Our common experience is a really great season of football, playing for Marshall County Central in the fall of 1982. The Nordics football team enjoyed success in 1981 and 1983 but 1982 was something beyond successful.

When most of us were freshmen we realized we were a football team. Some of us could play basketball or run track but all of us could play football. It was like a quiet secret that this might be something special. The ’82 Nordics really started their championship season the winter prior. Our leaders were focused and their excitement was infectious. Every member of the ’82 Nordics lifted weights and everyone was very focused. When school let out that spring, most of us just stayed in that weight room or would go out on the grass and scrimmage.

I don’t remember a ton of things from 35 years ago but I remember how confident we were as a team. During one pre-game warm-up, the opposing team stood at the center of the field and chanted, “murder Nordics.” Some teams would have felt threatened and maybe got angry; as I recall, we all started laughing. I mean, it was like a tiny kitten biting your finger-really more cute than anything else. I believe we defeated that team 66-6. It was like a race against the clock to see how often we could score.

The season was successful but incomplete. We ended up being co-champions with the Argyle Eagles. Both teams ended the season with identical conference records however we lost to Argyle in double overtime in the most exciting game in which I ever played. Playing Argyle was always the same; I’d feel like we’d beaten the heck out of them until I looked at the scoreboard and see they had won. Even the 1985 Bears had a loss in their storied season.

I didn’t mention any player names in this column because we won as a team. Ancient armies used their shields to protect the man next to them-an act that makes each member dependent on the other and fosters teamwork. The ’82 Nordics had a lot of talent but it was our teamwork that made us successful. When the backs and linemen realize their efforts mean little unless performed in combination then they realize the importance of teamwork. I would also mention that we had excellent coaches particularly Sam Gebhart. No Nordic team was ever out of contention when Sam Gebhart was head coach.

We ended that season and soon graduated into life. Some of us became farmers, some went to school and some of us have passed away. Whatever we did, wherever we went and whatever turn our lives took-we always had that one great season. This is probably the first time I’ve ever written about it but I’ve thought about it from time to time and it always makes me proud. I was a member of the ’82 Nordics.