Over the Hill

Jesus should ‘placekick’ not ‘drop-kick’ me

On Super Bowl Sunday, I was part of a gathering that sang “Drop-Kick Me Jesus Through the Goalposts of Life.”

That song has always pressed my peeve button. For years I’ve wanted to tell somebody that it should be “Placekick Me,” not “Drop-Kick Me.”

The drop kick is obsolete. It’s a rarity. It’s a museum piece. The drop kick was already archaeological in 1976, when Bobby Bare’s recording of “Drop-Kick Me Jesus” climbed to 17th on the Country Western Music charts.

A drop kick isn’t a punt. To do a drop kick, the kicker must drop the ball and wait for it to hit the ground before kicking it. It was used for field goals and conversions. The drop kick quickly became a curio after 1934 when the shape of the football was modified to today’s slimmer, pointier configuration. It has a less predictable, less kickable bounce than the former shape.

I point this out not as a knowledgeable football fan, which I’m not, but as somebody who just likes to show off and play “gotcha.”

After we finished singing “Drop-Kick Me Jesus” I turned to Nancy Harris of Paso Robles and asked if she was a football fan. She emphatically said yes, and that her father, Sid Nichols, was an All-American player in college football and later a professional player. In the mid-1920s he was head football coach at Occidental College in Los Angeles. Later, he moved his family to Paso Robles where he became the Chevrolet dealer.

Mrs. Harris said her father was a skilled drop kicker who kicked left-footed, which confused the opposing players. Who says history isn’t interesting or useful? It can help you appreciate football more and understand it better.

And sometimes, when you’re researching the history of one thing, you’ll discover something else that’s fascinating. Then your train of thought will switch to that track.

For example, most fans know that the recent Super Bowl was number 44, which is often shown as XLIV in Roman numerals. Roman numerals are ancient history. Maybe you’ll wonder how Romans did long division with numbers like XLIV.

No wonder the Roman Empire fell.

In last week’s column I omitted part of the mailing address for the ECHO homeless shelter. The complete address is El Camino Housing Organization, P.O. Box 2077, Atascadero, CA 93423.

Contact Phil Dirkx at phild2008@sbcglobal.net or 238-2372.