Field visit stirs memories, feelings of times gone by

The primary objective of visiting Blevins Memorial Stadium on the Brownstown Central High School campus was to get a former coach and a former player together one last time on the field.

At the stadium where my dad, Larry Johnson, was the head coach, and my friend, Barry Hall, was a guard and linebacker.

This past fall Barry was named one of the 50 Greatest BCHS Brave Football Players in school history.

I still remember watching him play.

He was fearless. He was quick. He was spring-loaded.

He loved what we used to call “The Romance” of the game.

The physical contact that of knocking someone else silly was called romance back then.

Barry is currently coaching football for Brownstown Central, and I have no doubt he does a great job.

I hope they win every game…except the one against the boys in blue and white.

On May 30, they tore down Blevins Stadium as we knew it.

This season will mark 40 years since Dad and Barry were on the field together as player and coach.

And while there is still an air of that dynamic between them when they are together, as it should be I suppose, they are so glad to of been able to hang on to each other all these years on.

Believe me, I know what I am talking about.

Together, they talked about games.

They shared stories about people they remembered.

They chatted privately.

They shared memories.

We were like flies on a wall inside the confines of the place.

They didn’t talk about how many games they won or lost or why much either.

It always comes down to relationships in this life. That is the most important thing.

Sure, Dad and Barry enjoyed a nice amount of success together.

But that is not what inspired Barry to ask my Dad to sing at his Dad’s funeral.

Wins and losses are not the reason Barry helped load a truck and move some of our stuff for us when we moved to Harrison County in 1979.

Games are not the reason that once in a while I look at my phone and there is a message from Barry Hall out of the blue to let me know he is thinking of me.

That he loves me, and to tell my Dad the same.

Being a football coach’s son means you have to share your Dad with many people — many other young men.

Though I can’t in earnest recall a time I wished Dad would have stopped talking so much about one of his players, I have no doubt it must have gone through my mind once in a while.

But I don’t remember that.

What I do remember are memories of how great it was to have grown up in a town for the first 11 years of my life with so many people there to look after me.

I was a known little fella.

I have no doubt I was a pain now and again myself.

That’s life, and for me, it has been a wonderful time thanks in part to guys like Barry Hall, Jim Brown, Gil Speer, Nuts Goss, I could go on and on.

We had to leave Brownstown in 1979.

The school board there decided they did not want my Dad to be the head football coach anymore.

He had spent 12 years coaching at Brownstown, nine of them as the head coach.

It did not take Dad long to find employment two counties to the south at North Harrison High School, the same place I have been a school counselor going on two years now.

At North Harrison we were now playing against Brownstown.

That was odd.

In fact in 1984, on this very field where I had played pee-wee football, I was on a North Harrison team that beat Brownstown Central 59-0. It’s the worst defeat ever to this day on this field.

Ironically, in 1975 my Dad’s Brownstown Central team beat Paoli 76-0.

That was and still is the largest shutout victory margin in school history.

The 2015 Brownstown team tied that mark against Clarksville. Good for them.

I was even more delighted to be back one last time to the place as we know it on this afternoon.

I kicked some extra points and field goals in high school.

Meant to be, I think, on the field I grew up on as a child I also kicked my first point, but for the other team in 1984.

Whatever they were looking for, I think they found it.

I know I did.

I will file this experience like I have so many others.

I will reach for it now and again when I need it and be so glad we took a few hours out of an afternoon to make a few memories that will live forever.

I believe that.

(I have) my gym bag from the late 70s and a mesh BC football shirt circa 1977.

It doesn’t fit anymore.

My 1977 2nd place Punt, Pass and Kick Trophy from a fall day on the same field.

My BC Football Alumni visor. I am the only player that played against BC ever to get one of these and probably the last.

But in 2011 my name was called out over the PA before the game with the rest of the players and coaches being recognized, including my Dad, in attendance.

Danny Johnson is son of former Brownstown Central head football coach Larry Johnson. Send comments to [email protected].

No posts to display