Finishing school and my new job have taken me away from the MHR for the last few years. The recent passing of Goose Gonsoulin prompts me to write.
Goose was one of the really good guys. I know that very few of you ever got the chance to see him play, but he was perhaps our first real star. He played primarily safety, but he would often be assigned to the opponents primary receiver like we do with our "cover" corners today. In addition to being a great pass defender he as also a fierce run stopper. I don't know how many times he was knocked unconscious, but it was a lot. In those days a player was given smelling salts and asked if he knew which team he played for and if he did, he was sent back in.
Goose was nine years older than me. I was 12 the summer of 1960. I would ride my bike across Golden and watch the Broncos practice at Brooks Field at the Colorado School of Mines. One day my buddies and I were watching practice one of the fields that had no bleachers and we walked out near the players. It was really cool. We had never seen such big men. Finally one of the coaches, I think it was Frank Filchock himself, said something to the effect of "somebody get the damn little kids out of here before they get hurt". Goose come over and chased us away.
I was fortunate enough to connect with him many years later. Goose sent me several autographs and we talked over the phone several times. One day I asked him if he remembered chasing a couple of scrawny kids off the field and he did! We exchanged email until about a year ago. He loved sending jokes. He also sent me some pictures and I include one here.
It sure causes me to slow down and think for a moment. If I have nine years left, how do I want to spend them? A couple of years ago, after his cancer had come back a second time, I saw where he was playing in a celebrity golf tournament raising money for some good cause. I know I might have a lot more years than nine, or I might have a lot less. I think I want to spend them like my first professional football hero. I think I will be the best father, grand father, great grand father and husband and friend I can be. Maybe I should start doing more for others. When I finally grow up, I want to be like Goose.
Rest in peace Goose. My thoughts and prayers go out to your family and loved ones on behalf of your many fans.