Sunday, April 19, 2009

Bicycle Mania on Campus

Paul Kolterman wrote:

I thought of something else that really sticks out in the ole memory banks -- riding bikes around campus at CTC. I always loved the sidewalks there. You would ride along and boom the sidewalk would jut at an angle a different direction. Or go in a circle or some other way. It was shady and different than riding in the street or on a regular sidewalk. Just a neat place to go ride bikes as a kid. The sidewalks were wide too, so you had plenty of room to ride.

Paul Kolterman, third-grade student at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska

Out in front of Founders Hall was a mezzanine area with benches kind of a rendezvous point when riding bikes, and there were like bulletin boards there with stuff posted on them about happenings at campus. Just a neat campus.

The Endicott kids and Lukert kids and the Kolterman kids would ride bikes there because it was close for us. We would go down our alley to the north and come out on Pearl Street, shoot up Pearl street past Brandhorst’s house and then cut over to the campus. My Dad didn’t like us riding over at the College because he thought we were bothering the kids on campus.

I remember it like it was yesterday. How fortunate we were to be raised in Seward -- Nebraska’s best town.

Another thing I remember were the old bridges on 2nd and third street. The railroad used to run through there (by the baseball field at St Johns school now). We used to play around and under those bridges. Then they cleaned that all up, tore out the bridges, planted grass and made it a football field/baseball field.

My favorite memories were at the swimming pool in Moffit Park. What a hoot.

In an earlier post, my brother Steve remembered:

Bicycle hide-and-seek on the CTC campus, with the front steps of Weller being home.

I remember this activity too, and I had intended to write about it eventually. Since Paul has raised the subject so compellingly, however, I will not delay with writing my own memories too.

This was a activity that we did when the college students were away -- on summer vacation, Thanksgiving break, etc. -- and so there was little foot traffic on campus. If we had played this game during a school term, many CTC students would have been run over and killed by us small but speedy bicyclists -- thus prematurely terminating many teaching careers for the Lutheran school system and leaving some future Lutheran school children with reduced educational guidance.

And so, although the Concordia campus was created for the divine purpose of enabling us neighborhood boys to play this game -- which I call Bicycle Mania -- there was also a divine limitation that we play it only during college vacations. So, concerned parents such as Mr. Kolterman were mistaken when they worried and discouraged.

I don't think this game had a standardized name. Although Steve calls it "bicycle hide-and-seek" and Paul calls it "riding bikes around campus," I think that you might agree that the most descriptive game might be something more like:

Bicycle Mania

or even:

Bicycle War

Essentially the game consisted of about a dozen boys racing their bikes all through and around the campus like maniacs and ambushing and "shooting" at each other. Occasionally, there might be a few incidents of "playing chicken" too.

(Many of us kids were inspired by the TV show, The Rat Patrol,

Opening Credit for the TV show Rat Patrol, which ABC showed during 1966-1968. The image was taken from

which starred a team of three heroic US soldiers (and one helpful British soldier) who raced around the North African desert in a jeep, equipped with a machine gun, during World War Two and killed enemy Nazi soldiers and blew up their Panzer tanks. This TV show had practically the very same plot every week, but we boys never got tired of watching it.)

Were there teams? Was there a start or end of the game? Not that I remember. Kids came and left, and while they were there they perhaps formed temporary ambush-and-kill squads of convenience. The "game" continued for a couple of hours, and then it just ended when the last couple of guys had to go home. And even then, I think that sometimes I was the last one, and I raced around for another ten minutes just by myself.

Maybe some of you remember some rules that I have forgotten.

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