I'm old enough to remember where I was when Don Larsen pitched his perfect game in the World Series and President Kennedy was shot. And I was covering professional golf for the Chicago Daily News when Johnny Miller won the 1973 U.S. Open with a closing 63.
But I didn't see Red Grange play for Wheaton High School and I was a college student when Dick Butkus was terrorizing opponents at Chicago Vocational.
So who were the best high school football players I ever saw, my all-time team dating to 1957 when I was awed by Leroy Jackson and his unbeaten Bloom team, players I covered while working for 33 years at the Daily News and Sun-Times?
We can agree to disagree, of course. Everyone has his favorites. You might come up with 22 different players. But I doubt it. Before you are quick to nominate someone who you think belongs on the all-time team, however, think about it. Who do you drop to make room for him? Why?
Receivers: Jimmy Smith, Blue Island Eisenhower, 1972; Dempsey Norman, Tilden, 1983; Jon Schweighardt, Wheaton Warrenville South, 1998.
Linemen: Dennis Lick, St. Rita, 1971; Mike Kenn, Evanston, 1973; Tom Thayer, Joliet Catholic, 1979; Jim Juriga, Wheaton North, 1982; Tim Grunhard, St. Laurence, 1985.
Quarterback: Mark Carlson, Deerfield, 1975.
Running backs: Billy Marek, St. Rita, 1971; Mike Alstott, Joliet Catholic, 1991.
Linemen: Dave Butz, Maine South, 1968; Keena Turner, Vocational, 1975; Chris Boskey, St. Francis de Sales, 1978; Bryant Young, Bloom, 1989.
Linebackers: Tony Furjanic, Mount Carmel, 1981; John Foley, St. Rita, 1985; Clay Matthews, New Trier, 1973.
Backs: Jack Bastable, Wheeling, 1968; Dwayne Goodrich, Richards, 1995; Brian Wise, Tinley Park, 1987; Mike Prior, Marian Catholic, 1981.
Notable omissions include Marshall's Darryl Stingley, Farragut's Otis Armstrong, Thornton's Antwaan Randle El and Napoleon Harris, Weber's Tim Marshall, Whitney Young's Russell Maryland, Providence's Pete Bercich and Eric Steinbach, Vocational's Chris Zorich, Thornton Fractional North's Mike Tomczak, Mount Carmel's Donovan McNabb and Simeon Rice and West Chicago's Scott Dierking.
Some went on to enjoy outstanding careers in college and the NFL. Others suffered injuries and never realized their great potential. But my all-time selections are based on high school performance only. No consideration was given to what they accomplished afterward. Let the debate begin.