“Mr. C. Brickley, 15; Bulldog Eleven, 5”

Damon Runyon

Star Tribune/November 23, 1913

Damon Runyon so Declares is Result of the Yale-Harvard Game

Methodical Charles Boots Five Neat Goals From the Field of Strife For Harvard’s Total

Brickley, 15; Yale, 5. 

Such was the score. 

The Brickley referred to is Mr. Charles Brickley of Everett, Massachusetts, who is sometimes referred to as “Big Foot Brickley” and who is necessarily the subject of this sketch. 

Working from behind a bulwark of Harvard football players, Mr. Brickley kicked five field goals over and above the Yale goal posts for a total of points stated. Five—count ’em, five. Otherwise Mr. Brickley had nothing much to do aside from crushing through Yale’s fortification from time to time and heeling off a few end runs. 

As these few lines are being written from the loft of the Cambridge stadium at the close of the tedious afternoon, with the dusk coming on from behind the far hills, the snake dancers of fair Harvard are reeling and writhing about on the field below, in the wake of a band. Some 40,000 persons stand watching them in varying shadows of gloom and joy. 

“Big Foot” is Real Stellar

In the midst of all this turmoil it is difficult to speak dispassionately of the deeds of “Big Foot” Brickley. One feels like getting up and uttering a Crimson shriek. 

Mr. Brickley himself has long since retired to the cloisters of the club house. At the door stands a herd of large and heavy-handed Boston policemen who will repel the enthusiastic attack that is sure to come later on when the snake dancers decide that they must see Mr. Brickley—the biggest man in American football this dusky hour. 

Once Mr. Brickley missed a real serious try at a field goal yesterday afternoon and that was perhaps the most striking feature of the afternoon. It is true he missed another, but that was early in the pastime and was more in the nature of a range finder than anything else. When he began to kick in dead earnest be did not miss again until late in the afternoon, when he fired from placement at the 42-yard line. The ball did not go over the Yale goal. That was indeed a strange thing. 

From all ranges and from all angles Mr. Brickley showered his boots upon the Yale wicket until the bewildered blight commenced to think a shower of football had blown up out of an apparently clear sky. Young Otis Gurnsey of Yale endeavored to return the Brickley fire and once he got a shot home, which accounts for three of Yale’s points. The other two came on a safety committed by O’Brien of Harvard that will long be remembered as something new and novel in the wav of a football “bone.” 

In the matter of kicking field goals Mr. Brickley is an artist to his toe tips. He is deliberate and methodical. We can take any one of his goals yesterday as a good sample of his work—we can even take the one he missed if necessary. 

How Chuck Does It

If it is to be a drop kick some Harvard person merely hands Mr. Brickley the ball anywhere within the 50-yard line and Mr. Brickley quietly steps backward a few paces and lifts the said ball over the opposition goal. There is no fuss about the business; he just naturally drops the kick and also kicks the drop. 

When it comes to a goal from placement Mr. Brickley brings in more stage business. He likes to personally direct the man who is going to stretch out on the ground and hold the ball for him. He pushes and pats the ball around until it is just so, and then he steps back and surveys it with a deliberate eye. He likes to remove his headgear when he boots from placement and this gives the audience a full view of his James J. Jeffries cast of countenance—when James J. was better looking than he was at last reports. Following these few preliminaries, Mr. Brickley steps upon the ball bodily and without fear, and “bam!” there she goes. Above is the way he acted in a general way all afternoon, with 40,000 persons looking at him, thousands of students of fair Harvard crooning their songs in his ear on one side while the noise of Yale came feebly and far away from the other. “Brickley, of the big toe,” they are going to remember him around here as long as they play football. 

By grace of Charley Brickley, Harvard claims the football championship of the eastern football world, but without Brickley Harvard would have had a tough time beating Yale yesterday.

Harvard Relied on Him

The Crimson always relied upon the big booter. There were times when something else seems the logical thing to do, but Harvard would hand the ball over to Brickley and let him go. 

It took him 17 minutes to fix his toe sights and get the Yale range from the time of the preliminary kickoff in the first period, counting the time that was taken out for one reason or another. 

There had been few thrills during those 17 minutes. The ball floated lazily back and forth over the field under the leggy lifts of Mahan and Knowies, the punters of the Crimson and the Blue, but there had been no marked advantage one way or the other. 

There is nothing quite so devoid of thrills as one of the punting passages that have come to be the football fashion with the big colleges of the East. 

Early in the period Brickley took that casual shot at the Yale posts that we have referred to before, but as stated, this was only by way of tuning up his toe, and nothing came of it. He fired from the 50-yard line but it was a weak effort, the ball rising only a short distance from the ground and then drifting weakly downward like a bird with a broken wing. 

After a play in midfield. Billy Langford, the referee, suddenly dove into the swirling mass of men and impaled Homer Ketcham, the fretful young captain of the Blue, with a reproving glare. The official raised an accusing index finger at Ketcham and the Yale leader shook his towsled head in protest. 

Strange Play Comes

There came a strange play after this that netted Yale two points and will long be discussed in college football. Knowles of Yale kicked off from midfield and the ball hit Harvard’s goal posts, bounding back into the field. O’Brien, the big end of the Crimson, picked up the ball and trotted back over the Harvard goal line and touched it to the ground. It was by way of being a “bone” as there was no reason whatever for the action. In any other play but a kickoff the ball hitting the posts would be a touchback and O’Brien probably doped this play out along that line. The officials paused and held consultation and then the figure 2 shot up on the score board, showing that O’Brien had scored a safety and brought his name into some disrepute for the moment among Yale rooters. 

Where Charlie Made One

At the opening of the second period Knowles had to kick out from behind the Yale goal line, as the first period had ended with the ball close up to the Blue posts, but in Yale’s possession. Mahan made a fair catch at the 39 yard line and Brickley wasted no further time. Logan held the ball and the booter lammed it high over the New Haven wicket. In the second period Alac Wilson met Mahan ‘s punt and ran it back 23 yards through the entire Harvard line. Three additional plays worked the ball over in front of Harvard’s goal and Otis Guernsey then kicked a field goal from the 38-yard line. At the close of the first half Gurnsey missed a 35-yard try with quite a bit to spare. 

At the opening of the second half Gurnsev missed another boot from the 40-yard line and then, as if to show the Yale young man how such things are done, Brickley kicked a goal from a range of 30 yards. This was a superb effort, although it was not particularly difficult. 

 As “Big Foot” took the ball he held it pensively and fondled it for a moment as if to reflect where to send it. He had plenty of time. No Yale men came his way as the Crimson bulwarked him against attack. Finally, when it seemed that he might decide to send the ball by mail, he booted with intense calm and the score was increased three points in fair Harvard’s favor. Immediately afterward Brickley dashed off 20 yards right through the Yale front to Yale’s 25-yard line, and after a little backing and filling in that vicinity he peeled off his fourth field goal from a distance of 33 yards. In the fourth period he closed his day’s labors with a goal from the 20-yard line.


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