I received an e-mail early this week from Payson High School alum Patrick Walker, now the NAZ Today sports director for Channel 4 in Flagstaff.
Patrick was the football official who threw the flag on the Payson Longhorns for the skit they performed Friday in the end zone following a touchdown scored against Alchesay.
The spoof involved all the players falling to the turf after David Carlen threw in the football, which apparently was supposed to represent a grenade.
Patrick took the opportunity to good-naturedly chide me because I wrote that the penalty was the result of the officials not having a sense of humor.
I replied to Patrick’s e-mail to tell him I agreed with the penalty, but it should have been for more yardage, maybe something like 50, because the skit was so lame.
As a spectator, you’ve got to give the kids a crack of a smile and a chuckle for their creativity. But gentlemen, hire a choreographer.
If there was a PHS football team that was adept at those types of silly satires and spoofs, it was the 1991 bunch. But they performed them at football camp outs and pep assemblies rather than during games.
In the fall of that year, the Longhorns held their preseason camp at Tonto Natural Bridge, where the team practiced on a makeshift uphill field.
During the evening hours around the campfire, the players were asked to come up with some type of skit.
We all needed a few belly laughs.
The players performed them in groups — the linemen, the receivers and the backs.
One of those skits was more than a bit different, but memorable.
After seeing it, I asked the players if they’d like to perform it again at a pep assembly in front of the student body.
They whole heartedly agreed to do it.
The skit was a spoof on those late night TV infomercials of 30 years ago that peddled Ronco Veg-O-Matic food processors.
The older set remembers, “it slices, it dices, it even juliennes.”
In the television ads, the inventor, Ron Popeil I believe, would demonstrate the Veg-O-Matic by continually processing a variety of fruits and vegetables. He’d then take a few bites and spew superlatives about how good and nutritious the chopped, diced and pureed food was.
The football team’s skit was a parody of the commercial that the players called “Veg-Head.”
Bo Althoff was elected to play the the leading role of Veg-Head.
Prior to the pep assembly, Althoff crawled inside a large cardboard box with only his head sticking out and visible to the students.
It looked to the students as if Bo’s head was simply sitting on a counter, much like any small appliance sits in a kitchen.
Jeff Buerger, I believe, played the role of Popeil, the fast-talking salesman eager to sell the processor to every American home.
Just as Popeil fed vegetables and fruits to Veg-O-Matic on TV, Buerger fed those same items to Veg-Head.
Bo chewed and chewed but never swallowed. Other players, including Kyle Hilton, chimed in with a humming noise as if Veg-Head was motor driven, as was the original.
Soon Veg-Head, overflowing with chow, was turned off.
With the students now on their feet and howling, Buerger grabbed a bowl, cranked Veg-Head’s mouth open and scooped out the “processed” fruits and vegetables.
Then, with a full bowl of food taken from the chop wizard, he began gloriously eating and spouting the virtues of Veg-Head.
Of course, watching Jeff enjoy groceries another player had jawed, didn’t go over well with many of the girls in the student body. Some were seen gasping and running out of old PHS gym.
One girl screamed, “Sick!”
But there were others who thought the skit was hilarious.
Now, I understand that Veg-Head was a little goofy and offbeat.
But, teenagers will be teenagers, even if they are wearing football uniforms.
The Friends And Neighbors (FAN) Club, booster organization supporting school district extracurricular activities, meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month at Pioneer Title.
The public is welcome and new members are invited to join in.
Hoop and run
The Town of Payson Parks and Recreation Department is holding registration for youngsters interested in participating in the upcoming seventh- and eighth-grade basketball leagues. Sign-up ends today, Oct. 31, and after that, players will be placed on teams only if space permits. The league beings Nov. 14 and games will be played in the Rim Country Middle School gymnasium. Registration fee is $25.
Recreation coordinator Joe Harris says the fee includes a reversible jersey and a basketball.
Also on the P&R agenda, the annual Turkey Trot 5K will be held at 9 a.m., Nov. 15 at Green Valley Park. Registration continues through Nov. 3.
The fee is $20 for pre-registered participants and $30 after Nov. 3.
Calling all pin busters
Loads of sports fun tips off at 2 p.m., Nov. 2 at Rim Country Lanes where Safeway will host Bowling for a Cure. The benefit is being held to help raise money for breast cancer research and treatment.
In addition to participants enjoying hours of bowling fun and competition, the benefit will include raffles, music and prizes for the top fund-raisers.
The fee for bowling is $25.
Those who would like to participate in Bowling for a Cure may register online at: http://www.active.com/page/Event_Details.htm?event_id=1642273&assetId=2df83319-eb6f-47cc.
Also, business owners are needed as lane sponsors at the bowling benefit.
For more information, call (928) 472-4661.
Bowling for a Cure bowl-a-thon events are held around the country, most often in the month of October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Other fund-raisers include the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and the Breast Cancer three-day 60-mile walk.