Jobe Publishing, Inc.
Last Wednesday, in a flurry of warmth, camaraderie, and shared memories most of the surviving team members of the unlikely undefeated football team of 1958 gathered in Edmonton for a momentous occasion.
The winning ball from the last game was presented to Susan Chambers, widow of team captain Harold Chambers.
“Harold was our leader,” said teammate Elmer Jackson. “He was one of the fastest players on the team, and he scored three touchdowns at the last game”.
After the last game, team member Claude Hoffmire who now lives in Utah wound up with the winning ball. His eight-year-old nephew asked to have the ball, and he gave it to him. Now 60 years later, the nephew gifted the ball back to his uncle. In turn, the team talked about what they should do with the ball. It was decided unanimously that it should be presented to Susan in honor of Harold, their friend, and captain.
The Team of ‘58
As the story goes, the winning football team of 1958 was an unlikely crew.
“The amazing thing about this team, it was not predicted or expected that we would do all that good,” said Elmer Jackson, team member.
The biggest on the team was Chambers. He weighed 210 pounds. Most of the linemen weighed about 135 pounds. As lightweights among their contemporaries, they had to rely on other strengths.
“Everyone was pretty fast though, we had that going for us,” said Tom Taylor, another surviving member of the team.
The team also gives much of the credit for their season to Jim Pickens, their coach who received coach of the year after the undefeated season.
“He wore the same coat and tie to every game, he was very superstitious,” said Larry Boyd, teammate. “I never knew if he was really that superstitious or if he just wanted us to think that he was. But we only wore white jerseys.”
However, it was not speed or dedicated coaching, but teamwork that was their greatest asset.
“Being part of a team teaches you. You can do a lot of things if you want to bad enough,” said Taylor.
Many of the team members had known each other most all their life.
“Someone told me one time that you’re always closest to the people you grow up with. I was closest to these guys. It’s true,” said Taylor. Some of the guys have known each other since first grade.
“We were all like brothers,” said team member Jerry Rankin. Boyd describes that brotherhood as a “special bond” he has carried with him all his days.
“We see each other every couple of years, and we stay in touch by email and phone,” said Jackson.
Harold’s widows Susan is overwhelmed by the receiving of the game ball.
“What can I say?” She said. “How wonderful is it that at 80 I have this token to keep in the family. Harold was a tremendous player, in fact, he did a tremendous job with everything he did.”
Two of Chambers’ daughters were also present- Emily and Shane.
“We did not know dad as an athlete, we knew him as a coach. But it shows how important it is that they kept and treasured this,” said Shane.
As for the remaining teammates, there is only one treasure they will take moving forward. The memories.
Teammate Clyde Wise had this to say about those memories:
“The older you get the more you cherish your memories. You lose a lot, but I’ll never forget about the bond we have with this team”.