Six Man Dance
Six Man Dance
Out in small town Texas, a handshake is a deal.
Folks go to church on Sunday, say grace at every meal.
Men open doors for ladies, kids say sir and ma'am.
Boys can't wait to join the Corps, and serve their Uncle Sam.
But if you were to go there, come autumn Friday nights
the place might be deserted, when the whole darn town unites,
upon a spread of hallowed ground, a grassy green expanse,
to celebrate their civic pride and watch the six man dance.
Now this dance is not for sissies, and I think you would agree
if you knew a bit about a man by the name of Jack Pardee.
Yep, they call it six man football, and they don’t get much acclaim.
They don't play for scholarships; but for the glory of the game.
Three up front and three in back, any lad can be the man
to pass or catch or run the ball, and kick it if he can.
A first down costs you fifteen yards; a field goal gets you four.
You’ll hardly wait two minutes there before another score.
Because for those without some speed, this game is not contrived,
and if one team can't keep it up, they might get forty-fived.
That's what they call the mercy rule, 'cause scoring is so fast.
No point in running up the tab when one team is outclassed.
So if you want a taste of life the way it used to be,
where folks can trust each other and kids can still run free,
and there’s a game where little fellers surely stand a chance,
drive out to small town Texas, and watch the six man dance.
© December 9, 2012
As a teenager, Jack Pardee moved to Christoval, Texas where he excelled as a member of the six-man football team. Pardee is the only six-man player to later have played or coached in the NFL. He was an All-American linebacker at Texas A&M University and a two-time All-Pro with the Los Angeles Rams (1963) and the Washington Redskins (1971).
He is the only head coach to helm a team in college football, the National Football League, the United States Football League, the World Football League, and the Canadian Football League. Pardee was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1986.
In the 2008–2009 season the state of Texas had 183 six-man football teams, more than all the other states combined. The number of schools opting for six-man football is expected to increase due to declining population in small West Texas towns, and newer private schools opting for six-man football.
The rules are slightly different than the 11-man version as explained in the poem. The "Mercy Rule" will end a game when one team is ahead 45 points or more at half-time or any time in the second half, hence the expression "getting forty-fived".