Six Man Dance
Just learned that Jack Pardee has terminal cancer. Here's a tribute to him and the game he played with the Christoval Cougars.
As a teenager, 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".
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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
Click "About this poem" above the title to see the notes.