More than fifty years ago, Ephs took the field against Amherst. Frank Uible ’57 led the way.

Tomorrow, they will do the same. And ten years from now. And one hundred. Do our Eph football players recognize their history?

TB Jones ’58, my father’s sophomore roommate, played varsity squash at Williams. I remember seeing his picture as one of the many team photographs that lined the walls of the old gym. Walking by those snapshots of Williams history each day on my way to practice provided me with a great sense of the players that had come before. Years later, those emotions were perfectly captured by Robin Williams in “The Dead Poet’s Society” when he takes his class to view the old photographs on the walls of his fictional New England prep school.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVXKz0j9fvs&start=70

Decades from now there will be another young man at Williams who will walk down those halls on his way to practice. Perhaps he will play squash like TB Jones and I did (although I hope that he plays more like TB than like me). Perhaps he will go on to the Marine Corps, like TB, my father and I. Whatever his future might hold, I hope that he sees our pictures and wonders about us, about where we went from Williams and how prepared we were for the journey. I hope that he realizes how fortunate he is.

The glory of Williams athletics lies not in our wins and losses. TB Jones and Frank Uible last wore the purple and gold more than five decades ago. I left behind my playing days before today’s Williams freshmen were even born. Almost no one recalls the games we won or the games we lost. But play them we did, with just as much heart and nerve and sinew as the Ephs who stand in our places today.

“Carpe diem” — Seize the day — was the message that Mr. Keating sought to instill, a message appropriate for his high school students. Yet Williams athletes, adults for all those with eyes to see, should be beyond such exhortations. For them the message should center on their relationship to Williams history, to the players that have come before and to those that will follow in the years and decades to come. Which lineman tomorrow will play in Frank Uible’s position? Which squash player this winter will occupy TB Jones spot on the ladder?

Does football coach Aaron Kelton remind his players of the history of those who have gone before? Does he know their names and their stories?

I hope so.

Williams may win or lose tomorrow. Yet, in the longer sweep of history, one game, one loss, is as dust in the corridors of memory. What matters is the day itself, and the place we each occupy within the traditions of the Williams community.

No one remembers the score of the game these men played 100 years ago. But we look in their faces and see ourselves.

I am Frank Uible ’57. I am TB Jones ’58.

Who are you?

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