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December 27, 2001

A few decades ago, when I was still covering Perry high school sports for this newspaper, there was a resurgence of excellence in several areas of our local athleticism. As usual, the Maroon wrestlers were winning state championships. The PHS basketball team was threatening to outscore every opponent they faced and that was a relatively new experience. As usual, the sport that garnered the most attention was football, and Perry fans were experiencing some major thrills because of the success of the young men who took part in that endeavor. Rex Edgar was coach of both football and wrestling at the time. Gary Kirtley assisted in football and also served as head coach of the basketball program. Coaches Edgar and Kirtley both were local boys, products of the Perry school system, and that made their achievements all the sweeter.

Perry fans of that period were fiercely loyal in their support of all those programs, just as they are today. Traditionally, that is always the case everywhere, but needless to say it is more fun to praise a team, the individual players and the coaches when things are going well. Just ask the young men who played football at the University of Oklahoma this season. But lets not get into that.

Another parallel between that era and today is the help provided by such groups as the Perry Quarterback Club, the Tip-In Club and the Takedown Club. Most of the members are parents of participants in the program they support, but many are just John Q. Fans. They love the kids, both boys and girls, who are members of the teams, and they render a lot of help to the coaches in collateral ways. Right now Im remembering something the Quarterback Club of that period used to do every year on behalf of the football program at PHS.

At the start of each season, the QB Club president would announce that money was needed to help pay for some of the things the club wanted to do. Foremost in that area was a complete movie of each game played by the Maroons. The film was used as a program at Quarterback meetings but it also was a prime tool for the coaches in their team meetings when good plays and some not so good were called to the attention of the Perry gridiron squad. This was back in the days before video tape became commonplace.

To cover the considerable expense of filming and developing movies of each game, the QB Club tried several kinds of money-raisers. The one that proved most successful, however, was a kind of game where the ultimate prize was a cash gift, or season tickets, or things like that. With the proceeds the QBs filmed all games, both home and away, then sent the raw film to a laboratory in Oklahoma City where processing was expedited in order to have the developed film ready to be shown to the team on Monday mornings and at noon when the QB Club had lunch in the Junior High cafeteria. In both instances, Coach Edgar provided a narration and pointed out significant things that were praiseworthy or needed correcting.

The film project had to be undertaken each year, of course, until technology made possible the wonder of video tape that could be viewed immediately. The QB Club earned a lot of money through their annual game, and to some of us it seemed that a new camera had to be purchased every year. That probably was not literally the case, but it gave us something to laugh about each year while grumbling good-naturedly as we shelled out money for QB Club tickets.