Song Celebrates 1948 Football Team's Stand Against Racism by Sun Bowl Officials

Growing up on College Hill as the son of George Pokrivchak '52, folk singer Terry Kitchen has been heavily influenced by Lafayette. A song on his latest CD, That's How It Used to Be, tells the story of the 1948 football team, which turned down a bid to the Sun Bowl because the University of Texas Board of Regents would not allow halfback David Showell '51 to play. The CD is available at www.terrykitchen.com.

"The Greatest Game They Never Played"

It was 1948, the times were a-changin'
Jackie Robinson was playing for the Dodgers
And in Easton, Pennsylvania, at the college on the hill
David Showell was halfback for the Leopards

He'd flown in the war with the Tuskegee Airmen
And one day he's be an engineer
His skin was dark but it didn't seem to matter
Lafayette had its best team in years

Let's give up a cheer for the Leopards
Not for the touchdowns they made
But for standing together
To win the greatest game they never played

The final week of the season
The dean got a call from El Paso
"It's our honor to inform you your team has been chosen
To play New Year's Day in the Sun Bowl"

The dean called a faculty meeting
Closed the doors and told them the catch
They argued for hours but when the votes were counted
Lafayette had scratched

Let's give up a cheer for the Leopards
Not for the touchdowns they made
But for standing together
To win the greatest game they never played

Word spread like wildfire across campus
There's be no bowl game on New Year's Day
The students surrounded the house of the dean
Yelling "We want Texas! Let us play!"

The dean in his pipe and his slippers
Said "Gentlemen, you deserve an explanation
One member of the team was not included
In the Sun Bowl invitation"

The students told the dean to call Texas
And say we'll come if you let Showell play
But the chairman of the Sun Bowl said it's against state law
For blacks to mix with whites that way

So give up a cheer for the Leopards
Not for the touchdowns they made
But for standing together
To win the greatest game they never played

Now David felt bad for his teammates
He offered to stay home
But the college wouldn't hear it and refuse the invitation
"If you don't go then none of us goes"

The next day Lafayette had a rally
Sent a telegram to President Truman
"Race or religion or color of skin
Doesn't make one more or less human

So give up a cheer for the Leopards
Not for the touchdowns they made
But for standing together
To win the greatest game they never played
To win the greatest game they never played

© 2004 Terry Kitchen, urban campfire music, BMI