West Coast Heels Fail to Place on All-America Team

Damon Runyon

Reading Times/July 5, 1935

Mr. Marcus Aurelius Kelly,Los Angeles’ favorite sport writer, familiarly known as “the red-headed rooster of Arroyas,” who was here recently for the Louis-Carnera fight, labors under the singular delusion that anything on the Pacific coast is better than a corresponding anything anywhere else in the country.

For example, Mr. Kelly happened into a meeting of the committee that was going over the selections for the 1935 All-American Heel team, and immediately began claiming places in the team for members of the All-Pacific Coast Heels, asserting with all his well known truculence that they have bigger and better heels out there than in any other section of these United States.

A heel, as you are well aware, is a—well, a heel is a heel.

However, the names mentioned by Mr. Kelly as qualified for All American honors merely raised a laugh among the committee members. They might be all right for an All-Pacific Coast Heel team, but they are scarcely important enough for the All-American. Some of them could not even make the All-Eastern.

As a matter of fact, Mr. Kelly was bringing forward names that belong to the east as much as they do the west. It is a favorite ruse of the Pacific coasters to claim anybody that is out there long enough to change shirts.

ANYWAY, most of those suggested by Mr. Kelly are little heels—smallies. He named only a couple that were regarded by the committee as possessing potentialities as real big heels, fellows who bid fair to develop into All-American material one of these days unless something happens to slow them up.

Taking his All-Pacific Coast team as a whole, the committee showed Mr. Kelly that it probably could not make a single first down against the All-Americans, who are captained by a heel who is admittedly, all-time, all-wood heel material. Even Mr. Kelly admitted that he was impressed by the recital of the captain’s prowess as a heel. Mr. Kelly agreed, too, that the east has a better developing ground for heels in Old Broadway, but he pointed out that Hollywood is coming along very rapidly, especially as it is commencing to get the transplanted heel genius of Broadway, and fusing it with the home grown germ.

“You have no right to idly dismiss my candidates,” argued Mr. Kelly. “It is rank discrimination. Our heels have worked hard for recognition, and while I concede the tremendous strength of the All-Americans, I feel that we are entitled to at least a couple of heels in the line.”

The committee finally tossed Mr, Kelly a sop by admitting one of his star Pacific coast heels as water boy for the All-Americans.

Mr. Kelly does not seem to realize the care that enters into the advancement of a heel to All-American honors. The committee studies every section of the country with great care, and cons the record of every candidate presented for a long time. The all-time, all-world team is drawn up by an international board, and it goes away back into history.

A heel has to be a super-heel to gain place in the all-time, all-world lineup. For instance, the Emperor Nero has never yet been displaced as a guard. You may realize something of the present All-American team by the statement above that the captain is considered of all-time, all-world calibre.

The development of a heel usually begins in infancy, though sometimes one springs up overnight from an utterly unexpected source. Coaches of heel teams agree, however, that the greatest heels are born that way, though they add that if you have the right material they are easily made. They come from all walks of life.

Incidentally, there is a ladies’ auixiliary to the All American heel team, and some of the members thereof could probably make the big team if the committee recognized equal rights. The ladies say the committee members are themselves heels for not doing so.

During Mr. Kelly’s presence in New York, there was a tacit understanding among his eastern friends that college football should not be mentioned in his hearing.

Word had been received from Dr. Harry Martin, of Mr. Kelly’s hometown, the affable physician who is head of the California Boxing commission, that the topic is very painful to Mr. Kelly, and might indeed cause him to have a spell, especially the matter of Pacific Coast football as opposed to the eastern, or southern variety, or even the mid-western.

It appears from what Dr. Martin reports that Mr. Kelly has been in a strange mood since the Pittsburgh-Southern California, the Columbia-Stanford, and the Alabama-Stanford games of the past two seasons. He is given to melancholia, and will sit brooding for hours at a time, only to suddenly leap up and cry out in blood-curdling tones:

“It ain’t so! I don’t believe it!”

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