Robert Bruce McClendon Jr. was also known as “Bones”. He was a scrawny, skinny teenager. He still went out for football.
When he first made the team, there weren’t enough helmets to go around. Bones went to the equipment area and found an old helmet. It was scuffed up and beat up and very dirty. He asked the coach if he could wear it if he cleaned it up. The coach told him yes.
He painted it and polished it and got it looking really good. He wore his helmet to the next game. He was extremely proud of that helmet.
Not long into the game, one of the starters broke his helmet. The coach made Bones give his pretty helmet to the starter.
Sad and disappointed, Bones went back to the equipment room the next chance he got and found another helmet and fixed it up. He got to keep this one. It wasn’t too long before he was a starter
Years later, Bones and his brother Carl were on the same football team.
During one game, Carl was in and two large opponents decided to try to take Carl out. They kept hammering at him and hammering at him.
After a few plays, Bones went to the coach and said “Put me in, coach.” He did this even though it would have him playing, “The opposite side of the ball”.
The coach got an evil grin and sent Bones in to play.
On the first down after Bones went in, he looked across to the opposing line and said to the bigger of the two offenders, “Get well soon”.
The ball was snapped and he made contact with the first of the two offenders.
He hit him so hard that the opponent could not get up. They found his helmet on the other side of the field, split in half. It was a very hard hit. The opponent just laid there in agony.
Being the polite Southern boy he was, Bones decided that stomping on him with his football cleats would aid the guy in getting up. Back in those days, football cleats had sharp, metal spikes.
Bones stomped on the first boy’s arms and legs with those cleats and did so much damage they had to load the boy in an ambulance. No penalty was called.
Second down. Bones crouched and looked across the line at the second boy and said, “There is room for both of you in that ambulance”.
The ball was snapped and Bones made hard contact. Down went the second of the two offenders. Bones began his celebratory dance on the offender, stomping hard on his arms and legs. The ambulance was called back.
Bones yelled across the line, “This is my brother Carl. When you mess with him, I mess with you.” He went back to the bench and sat down. No one, not even his teammates, touched Carl the rest of the game.
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