Front Porch: Sports in the South

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Front Porch: Sports in the South

by Harry L. Watson
Southern Cultures, Vol. 3, No. 3: Sports in the South

"In 1953 a close observer of southern tribal customs recorded his observations of a desperate but popular weekend ritual."

In 1953 a close observer of southern tribal customs recorded his observations of a desperate but popular weekend ritual. “Friends,” said the young Andy Griffith, “I seen that evenin’ was the awfulest fight that I have ever seen in my life. I did.” The violence was frightful, featuring running, kicking, grappling, and stomping, and resulted in numerous casualties. But each wounded participant was eagerly replaced by another as the battle wore on. Despite the very real carnage, however, the rustic anthropologist finally decided that he had only witnessed a game. “I think that it’s some kindly of a contest,” he concluded, just to see who “can take that punkin and run from one end of that cow pasture to the other’n without either gettin’ knocked down or steppin’ in something’.”