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With Thanksgiving being a day away, besides food and family, football is probably on everyone’s agenda.  Whenever I think of football, my memory takes me back to the days of filling out football sheets.

You know what I’m talking about – the long sheet with all the scheduled games, college and pro.  Pick anywhere from 4 to 12 teams and root like hell for them to cover the spread.  Oops, it had a little bit of gambling involved but do you recall at the top of the ticket the words ‘FOR AMUSEMENT ONLY’?

Yeah right!

That was a serious money-making operation.

I filled out my first football sheet when I was 12 years old, down Timboo’s on an early Saturday morning, sheets had to be in by 12 Noon.

I picked two college games and two pro games for the following day.  You circled the number of the team you wanted and then on the bottom, you circled the same number.  You always put a fake name, never your last.  And of course the dollar amount you wanted to wager. You tore off the bottom and handed it in with your cash. (Sorry, no checks allowed)  My father threw down 2 bucks for me that first time.  If all 4 teams covered, I would collect $22.

No such luck, I went 2 out of 4.

It took me two years to hit my first football sheet.  I’ll never forget calling sports phone every 20 minutes for the scores.  I won 22 smackers and it felt like I was rich when I collected.  I couldn’t wait to collect the following evening.

‘Fat Tom’, a regular down Timboo’s always had the handicap sheet he’d pick up from the newsstand on the corner of 5th avenue and 9th street.  He’d sit at the front of the bar and look it over religiously.  He wanted to know everything about the teams.  Throughout the day he’d cheer like crazy for his teams.

“Who ya like today Stevie” is what he would often ask me as I entered the bar.

Do they still have football sheets?

I can recall back in the day you were able to get them almost anywhere in the neighborhood.  Do you have any stories on football sheets?

-SF

Hoops135@hotmail.com

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