HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN:

HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN - city of big bottoms and small minds.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

IN SEARCH OF THE DUKE


Listened to a radio ad for joining the National Guard - the jist was go to school, defend your homeland. How can any 18 year old buy that crock? Sure you will get money to go to college but that depends upon if - and this is a big if - you can survive repeated deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Yes, it used to be that the National Guard was formed to deploy in the United States in times of turmoil. But no more. The last time that the Guard was called up correctly to serve overseas was in World War II.

I served with the National Guard way back in 1962 when we got called up during the "Berlin Crisis". Fortunately the regular army muckity mucks took a look at us on maneuvers and decided we were not even decent cannon fodder.

Anyway, to tell youngsters to sign up to defend your homeland is a "George W" twisted logic. Neither of those wars have anything to do with defending home turf.

There I said it.

Spending the winter months in search of The Duke. The Duke, in this case, is the official Wilson football used in the National Football League since 1941. Up until the early 1960's, the ball did not have the NFL Commissioner's signature. I became interested in finding examples of this particular ball. They are not easy to find.

The first one I located (pictured) is stamped "blem" - which means it was rejected for game use. Still, it is in great condition, as you can see, and i further re-conditioned it with several cleanings with saddle soap and then repeated rubbing with mink oil to bring out the leather's sheen.

Recently, I located another on eBay for only $9.99 because it needed a new bladder. I did some research and found out that the Wilson Sporting Goods Company's NFL football manufacturing plant is in Ada, Ohio, and that they install new bladders and relace the ball for only $15.00.

That was a no brainer.

I am looking forward to getting it back from Wilson and working it into great condition!

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