Are you looking for a great book to read during this winter break? Then you should go to the library. But if you are looking for an exciting, heartfelt, historical account of one of the most famous college football rivalries ever known then, Bayou Classic: The Grambling-Southern Football Rivalry by Thomas Aiello is the book for you. As I flipped the pages, I had to constantly check my fingernails to make sure I didn’t have dirt in them. I felt so close to the field, I could almost feel the sun beaming down on my neck as I read.
Thomas Aiello not only brings readers to the football field, he also invites them to play along as he takes them on a trip through old Grambling State University.
Given the time period, Aiello also talks about the racism that surrounded the campus and how it affected not only the Grambling community, but also other Historical Black Colleges and Universities.
“There had been guns. Plenty of guns. And death. The Civil War had freed black Louisiana, but the promises inherent in the idea of freedom didn’t follow,” says Aiello in his first chapter.
However, I am sure you already know that that did not stop us as a race and as a community, only made us stronger.
Now, here are a few facts for all of the Grambling State University history fans.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, but he did not create a very good football team for Grambling State University. I thought that we had always been a very good team; little did I know that we were one of the worst. But after watching his creation get destroyed and humiliated every year, he sent an angel by the name of Eddie G. Robinson, and that is where the GSU football team we know and love today was born.
There is so much history in this book I could go on forever. But we need to get to the meat of the book – the rivalry. While Grambling’s football team was without blessings, Southern would play us every year and beat us so badly that they would consider us a relaxing practice.
However, after Coach Eddie G. Robinson stepped in, we showed them our true colors, black and gold. This is what sparked a very long rivalry and one of the biggest football games of the year, Bayou Classic.
Bayou Classic: The Grambling-Southern Rivalry by Thomas Aiello is a must have just in time for the holiday season, and our nineteenth win against Southern.