Electric Football

By John Rezell

Imagine for a moment waking up as a small child on Christmas morning and running downstairs to find the tree dark and house more than a little chilly.

If you are really imagining this scenario through the eyes of a child, then you know the lighting and temperature are irrelevant. What matters are presents. And there are plenty beneath the tree.

When I think back to Christmases past, very few revolve around sports. My birthday lands in June, so warm weather and summer vacation bring plenty of sports presents. Christmas, for me, not so much.

On this particular morn, a Christmas Eve blizzard knocked out the power in the area, thus no lights and no heat. Needless to say, it didn’t matter. At first.

We dug into the presents as kids usually do. Then Mom handed me a big flat box. I had no idea what it was, so I ripped it open with a little added energy.

It took me a minute to figure it out. Then it hit me. Electric Football.

Growing up in Wisconsin during the Packers Glory Years, it didn’t get much better than this. Football was king. Neither team was painted. One team was white. One team yellow.

Without hesitation, I decided to pin a number on one player. I peeled off No. 24 from the decals and planted on the back of a yellow player. Willie Wood came alive.

We spent the next few hours playing with everything else under the tree while slowly adding layers of clothing. I never remember another Christmas without electricity. Nor a Christmas when electricity was in such dire need.

Eventually the electricity came back on, and a nanosecond later, the game began to vibrate. As players zoomed all around the field, I focused on No. 24. One of my heroes, the only Packer I honored with a number, Willie Wood, simply spun around and around in circles like a top, going no where, but certainly standing out from the rest.

Ah, the memories.

More than a few years later, another Wisconsin blizzard just after Christmas paid big dividends. My buddy Jack and I spent the better part of three days wandering around the neighborhood shoveling driveways and getting paid handsomely.

After putting my required portion of loot in the bank, I had enough to buy myself anything I wanted. We went straight to Sears where I got an update Electric Football Game, complete with painted players. The New York Giants and Los Angeles Rams.

We didn’t quite take it to the level some people do (you can watch this youtube video to see true obsessions with Electric Football https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zccZueUD42M). But inside was a catalog where you could order other teams.

Eventually, I had six or seven teams. The teams we didn’t like, we repainted ourselves. We had a league in the neighborhood with six teams. It was great fun. Eventually we repainted every team.

I had the teams packed away somewhere for decades. Last Christmas my little brother surprised me with a new Electric Football Game. Ah, the memories …

Do you have a Christmas sports memory to share? Let us know!

Contact John Rezell, Executive Editor, at jrezell@coveypubs.com.