Roland and Ronald Woodfolk

Jefferson Elementary, Venable Elementary, Burley High School, Lane High School

PHYLLIS LEFFLER:  Did sports become a means to overcome racial tensions or racial divisions?

RONALD W: Well, I think it did help overcome racial tensions.  It for me was a matter of coping, and I can remember how junior year the four of us went out for football, and we met in Coach Theodose’s office, and he sat us down, and he told us, he said look, if you guys make the team, you will play. And Coach was a man of his word. We made the team, we played.  And you can ask anybody, I didn’t want anybody to give me anything.  All I wanted was an opportunity, that’s all.  Let the chips fall where they may, just give me that opportunity, but just don’t say that I can’t play because of the color of my skin.  You know, that didn’t sit well with me.  But I asked coach years later, I said, there was no rhyme or reason how we won the state championship, okay?  So I said, “Coach, what was the criteria for winning the state championship?”  He said, “Woody, I really can’t tell you.  I think with everything that was going on with the race relations and all that kid of stuff, and we had no, it seemed like the football brought the community together, there was no hostilities and nothing like that, so he said, I think that was probably one of the criteria that, reason why we were given the state championship.”

ROLAND W:  Cause as a team, we all got along.  We all got along, we worked well together, we had a goal: winning. And we played for a coach that was about winning, about discipline, knowing your assignments, and you go out and execute.  We executed, we went undefeated.  And I think that brought the town together more than anything else.

RONALD W: Plus Burley had won the district championship, so we had two championships in the city.