Thursday, September 10, 2009

Where Does Your Team Play?

The names of football stadiums always have a story. Well, most of them do. I know two of them.

The Muleshoe Mules play in Benny Douglas Stadium. Benny Douglas would have been a senior the next school year, 1950-51. He and two friends were coming home from Clovis, New Mexico, on Highway 84. In those days, it was called Killer 84 and had lots of curves on its narrow two lanes. There was a terrible wreck; three kids, all fellow students, were critically hurt. Benny was killed. He was on the varsity football team, a popular student, his parents were prominent in the community, and he was the first student from the school to be lost in such a tragic accident. So it seemed a fitting tribute to name the stadium after him. The sign is gone now, but everyone still calls it Benny Douglas Stadium. Legend has it that Benny’s ghost lurks about the old locker room and the football field, leaving cool chills on the backs of people as he passes.

The Texas A&M Aggies-yep, I’m an Aggie-don’t play in a stadium. They play at Kyle Field. It seems back in 1904 athletic contests were held on a drill field. Edwin J. Kyle, a young ag instructor, had been given a larger portion of college land for horticultural experiments than he needed. Realizing that future athletic events needed a place of their own, Mr. Kyle bought lumber and fencing materials “on account” and constructed two bleachers that would seat about 500 people. Games were then played on that extra land and fans sat in those bleachers. In 1906, the Corps of Cadets met in the chapel to thank him. So Aggies ever since then have played on Mr. Kyle’s Field. Never mind that TV game commentators call it Kyle Stadium from time to time…apparently they don’t do all their homework. A&M’s board of directors officially named it Kyle Field in 1956. And Kyle Field it will always be. *

*Chapman, David L. “The Kyle Field Chronicle: In the Beginning, Part 1.” Texas A&M Cushing Memorial Library and


Kat said...

Ma'am, I was the mascot at Muleshoe High School my junior and senior year. It was my senior year when we won state. I had spent many countless hours at MHS and I have to say, I think Benny Douglas does lurk around the school, as well as the football field. In the old high school gym, at night it sounds like somebody is running under the bleachers. Talk about creepy when nobody is around! Sorry I am yammering, I happened to wonder about Benny Douglas and ran across this so I thought you would enjoy knowing about the gym and thank you for the story, I never knew it. I had heard some outlandish stories throughout the years, and it's nice to finally know the story. Thank you so much.

Alice Liles said...

Thnaks for responding, Kathryn. I have never heard any sounds, so I guess I will have to go up there sometime late at night and see what happens. Poor Benny may have a hard time finding his way around these days. Major renonvation has taken place in the last year at the high school. The old gym is still there, but there is a new one now and the football field will be undergoing major improvements in the upcoming year. The old library is gone as is the whole front of the building. You will not recognize it. If you ever pass through town again, drive by and see what you think. Hmm, I guess I should do a story with pictures when it is all done. Thanks for reading!