Thursday, August 11, 2011

Frost High School - Playing With The Polar Bears

I have decided that through our BLOG, I am going to come clean............. I spent the first 15 years of my life wanting to "Play With The Polar Bears". You might wonder why a kid from Central Texas would grow up with a dream like this and, quite frankly, I would not blame you.

But all is really not as crazy as it may seem. In fact, nearly all the kids I grew up with had the same dream. You see, my home town of Frost, Texas lies fifty miles south of Dallas. It is the home of The Fighting Frost Polar Bears, our school mascot, and from the time I could remember, I wanted to wear the blue and white jersey into a gym filled with screaming Polar Bear fans. I wanted to hold the hand of a Polar Bear Cheerleader as we ran on the field before games against Mildred, Bynum, Coolidge, Palmer and the other small schools in our area.

Frost had a population of 507 according to the city limit sign that was a few hundred feet down Highway 22 where I lived, and I graduated with 12 other kids. We never had more than 25 players on our team and needless to say we had no Jr. Varsity. In fact as a 14 year old, 125lb Freshman, I started at Safety all season. I still remember Eddie Collins from Blooming Grove dragging me 20 yards into the end zone. Two things were sure, he was going to score..... and I wasn't letting go until he stopped running. Both of my older sisters were Polar Bear Cheerleaders and my brother-in-law was an All District running back. We had our own legends at Frost High School. Rejcek, Raley, Thompson and Joe Jr. were my heroes. I played alongside great Polar Bears like Adrian Johnson, Alan Hargrove, Tony Sanders and Jeff Moore (who had to be the toughest pound for pound guy I have ever known). And while I still find time to brag about being named Honorable Mention All District in 1972, the reality is that there were no college football dreams for me. These were the days.

But that was never the reason for playing.  I continued playing both offense and defense, as did most of my teammates beginning my sophomore year. We never made the playoffs, and in my four years, we lost a few more than we won, but did have a 7-3 season while I was a Junior.  We played a game in Ft. Worth in 1971 against Masonic Home (I scored the winning TD by the way) and our team got a "delay of game penalty" when we stopped to watch the Goodyear Blimp fly over. We won a game 2-0  during a severe thunderstorm and I fell in love with Paula Hooser, our Twirler who was a Senior when I was a Freshman. Paula, by the way, soon married her real boyfriend and they have been married nearly 40 years.

We didn't have an electric scoreboard until my Jr. year (The time and score were kept on the field), and as far as I know I still hold the school record of throwing four interceptions that went back for touchdowns in a 68-6 loss to the hated Wortham Bulldogs my Sr. year. My Polar Bear Letter Jacket hangs in my office, and it gets plenty of laughs when I try to put it on now-a-days.

After graduation, I was only able to make a few games. My little brother Jim was a star for the Polar Bears but I was working during his playing days, and only got to see a few games of his. He was the best Polar Bear player I had ever seen. I still have family in Frost, but barely get back anymore. My life has been far removed from Frost for many years and I doubt, except for nieces and nephews, any of the students in school today have any idea who I am or how proud it makes me that I was a Bear.

In a small school, you get to do a little of everything. Basketball and baseball season came and went, but when I pulled off my jersey for the last time after an 21-7 loss to the Dawson Bulldogs, things were never really the same. It didn't matter that we only won two games my Senior year, the fact that I would never again get to play football and represent Frost hit home that night. It was the same for "BT", "Lightning" and "Mr. All District", Gary Woods, who were Senior teammates of mine. The little kids would grow up and take their turn as Polar Bears and the whole town, what there was of it, would continue to turn out. As it should, time moved gracefully along and luckily for me I moved on with it.

 While those days at Frost High School are gone, I find when I retell my Polar Bear stories, very good feelings come rushing back. Even the shellacking by Wortham does not hurt as much as it once did and brings a lot of laughter from my friends whenever I talk about it. Looking back I realize things were not perfect for me growing up. Those imperfections are why I moved away and found a great life outside of the rural town in Navarro County that I called home. Frost is different today. The bustling little Main St. is nearly empty and as you could expect, the town looks older. They still play football and in fact have had some success off and on over the years as the school, town, and team face the struggles all small communities face today.

But, when I do go back, I make a trip by the same football field that saw # 5 score two TDs against the Copell Cowboys. Then I replay for my kids and grandkids, the 46-14 win over Scurry-Rosser when a young "Pop" ran for one TD, threw for two more and had an interception................... And you can believe that I tell them......... when I was their age........ I wanted to play with "The Polar Bears"


  1. That was really a great and memorable high school experience! It's really very nice to remember our past achievements during our high school days... How i wish i have those same achievements as yours.

  2. gary woods is my father and i just wanted to say how much i appreciate you writing this. i listen to my fathers storys all the time and this really opened up my eyes.

  3. Hey I was a Polar Bear too - Class of '92 - 20 yrs. your jr. I grew up across the street from the school - my parents still live there and my mom is the first female Mayor the town has ever seen. They are having a historic football season this year! Great to read your blog post.