Golden Oldies – Snake Hips Geary

MeTV has some great old shows. I’ve seen all the “I Love Lucy” episodes and was just thrilled to see “The Lucy Show” on the schedule, so I set it to record. Lucy and Vivian are perfect together and their zany antics are timeless. In season 2, Gale Gordon showed up as Mr. Mooney. He was quite an actor in his own right!

I have a new appreciation for his talent. I googled him and found he was in another show, “Our Miss Brooks”. As crazy as it seems, this led to the discovery that “Our Miss Brooks” was on MeTV beginning the next morning, so I set it to record each day. Further research led me to learn that “Our Miss Brooks” began as a radio show in 1948 before moving to television in 1952.

Eve Arden was Miss Brooks, the beautiful high school English teacher, and Gale Gordon was Osgood Conklin, the blustering high school principal. Miss Brooks had her eye on a handsome bachelor, the biology teacher, Mr. Boynton, played by Robert Rockwell. Richard Crenna played the pubescent-voiced Walter Dennon.

In episode 9, from November of 1952, the plot is this: Madison High is looking forward to the big football game against arch-rival, Clay City High. It’s discovered that former Madison football star and present-day coach, Snake Hips Geary, never graduated high school. He failed English so Mr. Conklin wants Miss Brooks to give him a crash course and also give him a passing grade.

Hilarity ensues…because it must. In one scene, Miss Brooks and Mr. Boynton are visiting in her classroom when Snake Hips walks in wearing the sweater he made himself that had big white letters, “Varrcity”. Of course, his dialogue is full of hysterical grammatical errors.

Snake Hips tells the two teachers of his life after leaving high school. After the Big Game of 1912 where he scored 47 points, he was hired as a Vice-President by a local firm in an effort to capitalize on Snake Hips’ prestige. After the memory of the Big Game of 1912 faded, he was demoted to Maintenance Man, though with the same pay. Now, he was hired as a coach at his alma mater to inspire the team before the big rivalry game with Clay City High.

Snake Hips Geary said that being back around all the kids gave him his confidence back. He told Miss Brooks, “Confidence. That’s all a person needs in this world. Just keep up your confidence and in the end, you will always wind up getting what you want.”

And therein lies our first life lesson for today: Confidence. Don’t leave home without it.

And for me, another lesson bubbles to the top. Football has been my favorite sport for many years. For the record, I’m a child of the Landry Dallas Cowboys era and I’m still not over “it”. Nonetheless, you can find me in red and black each Saturday, chanting “Wreck ‘em Tech!” for our Red Raiders. Our sons have played football, and now we have a grandson who plays. We’re band nerds and enjoy the halftime show, too. It’s a package deal and we love it all.

However, as I get older and wiser, it’s apparent that we deify as well as exploit the players so I don’t worship the game, as I once did. That’s part of the lesson for me. Poor Snake Hips. He was deified and he was exploited…until he was discarded.

I think we can do better. I’m confident we can do better. As Snake Hips said, “Confidence. That’s all a person needs in this world. Just keep up your confidence and in the end, you will always wind up getting what you want.”

Not a bad lesson from an old varrcity football player, I reckon.