Back in the day, when I was newspapering full-time at the C-I and Sheila McKinney was Localife editor, she was a whiz at putting wedding stories together.
Brides or their mothers would bring in information scrawled on envelopes, scraps of Blue Horse notebook paper and the back of matchbooks.
Sheila would somehow weave all those notes into a masterful wedding write-up which would leave the brides ecstatic.
She did her job as well as Tom Didato, longtime sports editor of the paper, did his.
One day I started wondering what would happen if Tom was unable to cover a Camden Bulldogs football game and Sheila had to pinch hit for him.
I came up with what you’ll see below -- this was many years ago -- and since Tom’s still at his craft and Sheila’s again doing some feature stories following her retirement, I decided to give you another look at it, with tongue-in-the-cheek apologies to them both.
Zemp Stadium was the scene of a Friday night engagement between the football teams from Camden High School and Holly Hill-Roberts.
The stadium was beautifully decorated with green grass, tall light poles and gently rising bleachers. A chain-link fence surrounded the field and separated the participants from the onlookers, and the playing area, a rectangle 100 yards long and beautifully landscaped, was delicately criss-crossed with white lime yardage markers.
The Camden team was attired in white pants and black jerseys. Their football pants were three-quarter length and fell in a graceful line from their waists to just below their knees. They were highlighted by a thin stripe which ran down the outer edge of each pant leg.
Their jerseys were black mesh with short sleeves. Featuring large white numerals both front and back, they were cut to emphasize the shoulder pads which each player wore.
Camden players also wore helmets made of a hard synthetic material and decorated with script Cs on each side. Face masks protruded from the helmets.
The players’ uniforms did not include trains.
For footwear, Bulldog players chose black, low-cut Nikes which were enhanced with stubby cleats on the bottom. Some players chose to further decorate their legs with broad pieces of white tape. Coach Jimmy Neal allowed each player to express his individuality in that regard.
The Holly Hill-Roberts players were similarly attired, though in shades of maroon and gold instead of black.
Music prior to the event was provided by the Scarlet Regiment band and included The Star Spangled Banner, by Key, and the Camden High fight song.
Pre-game vows were exchanged in the center of the field, where the captains from both teams met with the officials. Holly Hill-Roberts’ captains called “heads” and won the toss.
Attendants included water boys, ball boys, the “chain gang” and team physicians. Camden coaches, clad in matching khaki pants and white shirts, served as honor attendants.
After the parents of the players were seated in the reserved section, the game began. The teams battled back and forth for two quarters, with Camden quickly gaining the upper hand. There was a great deal of grunting, groaning and swearing among the players, and those attending the game -- friends and supporters of both teams -- shouted encouragement to their players from the stands.
Refreshments were served by the Camband Club during halftime. Guests were able to choose from soft drinks, peanuts, candy bars and hot dogs. The concession stand was beautifully appointed with counters and cash registers.
Following a half-time program of music by the Scarlet Regiment, the teams resumed the game. Camden proved to be the superior team and won a resounding victory.
Following the game, an impromptu reception was held in the middle of the field, attended by many players and also by members of the Camden High student body, some of whom exchanged high-fives with the players.
Members of the Camden Police Department assisted spectators as they removed their cars from the stadium parking lots. The officers were dressed in black, and for accessories they chose silver badges and .38 caliber revolvers. Their holsters were made of black leather.
The players are members of the Camden High School student body, where they are all pursuing diplomas. None of them have full-time employment yet, though a number of them hold after-school jobs.
The CHS players were feted with several pre-game parties prior to Friday night’s events.
On Tuesday, the Bulldog Club hosted an informal dinner. Players and club members enjoyed steaks, baked potatoes, rolls and ice cream.
On Friday at noon, the Camden High cheerleaders officiated at a pep rally. Several innovative cheers were delivered and the players were urged to win the game.
(Glenn Tucker is the contributing editor to the Chronicle-Independent, Camden, S.C.)