Me as a thirteen year-old Gamblers fan in 1984,
and a bit older during the early days of Houston-Gamblers.com. You can never really go back, can you?
I was thirteen years old
when the Gamblers took to the field for their inaugural campaign in 1984. As a resident of nearby Deer Park, Texas, I distinctly
remember the excitement surrounding Houston's new team. The NFL Oilers were struggling to rebuild after a horrendous
3-13 season, and the MLB Astros were playing their typical .500 ball. Even the Rockets of the NBA were finishing a less-than-stellar
season with a woeful 29-53 record.
Jim Kelly and his crew would have to save the Greater Houston area.
The Gamblers did not disappoint, as fans everywhere were treated to some of the most dynamic
football ever played. The USFL was a league run by team owners with a "take no prisoners" mentality, and
this mindset was naturally reflected on the field by the players as well. When it came to pulling out the stops
and letting the pigskin fly, the Gamblers were among the best. Future Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly and crew shattered
numerous professional records on the offense during the course of the Gamblers very first season... But as all good
things must end, the USFL closed its doors after the 1985 season, leaving a void in the hearts of countless loyal fans.
Two years, thirty-eight games and several pro records later, the Gamblers walked off the gridiron forever.
But while the Houston Gamblers and USFL may be long gone, they are certainly not forgotten. Several websites
have been created since the mid-ninties to honor the United States Football League, and collectors continue to eagerly
search the web and newspaper classifieds for all kinds of memorabilia relating to their beloved league and teams. In early
2008, I decided it was time to create my own site dedicated specifically to my hometown heroes, the Houston Gamblers.
After graduating from Deer Park High School in 1989, I spent six years in the Army and later enjoyed several years as a
securities broker/teacher after moving to Oregon. A graduate of the Oregon Police Academy in 2001, I also spent time on the
side as a police officer. I now work for a large retail company and am the proud creator of Houston-Gamblers.com.
On June 12, 2010, offensive
lineman Scott Boucher and I were privileged to coordinate the first team reunion since the Gamblers disbanded in 1985.
Held at the Dave and Buster's in Houston, over 50 members of the Gamblers organization attended the historic event (not including
friends and family!) You can see all kinds of photos, multimedia and information related to the reunion by following this link.
At the reunion, I was named the "Gamblers
Historian" by team owners Jerry Argovitz and Bernard Lerner. Owner Jay Roulier added his "yes" over the phone
a few days later. How neat is that?
Now that you've read my story, feel free to email yours... Any Gamblers-related anecdotes
you wish to tell will be filed, cross-referenced and added to the team history!
I address the team at the Gamblers Reunion,
held in Houston on June 12, 2010.
I'm not really a car guy, but I loved
driving my obsolete 1992 Chevrolet Caprice Police Cruiser. It featured a modified LO5 5.7 litre 350 engine that was blazing
fast. Much to my chagrin, the Chief took it away for a while because I plowed through someone's front
yard and destroyed their flower garden! "Suzy" was finally retired in late 2005 after being deemed unfit for
service, ending an incredible run that lasted fourteen years (including a two-week vacation thanks to that flower garden).
A news still of me in front of Suzy the Caprice
with the trusty shotgun, at the scene of a police versus felon shootout. I was awarded a Commendation by the State of Oregon
for my involvement, and this was Suzy's
next-to-last felony call before her retirement a few months later.
A balmy evening in July of 2005
was expected to be a typical, uneventful swing shift. My partner for the evening was a trainee who had never taken her sidearm
out of the holster in the line of duty, and Suzy was our car of choice for the evening. The plan was to practice a few traffic
stops and discuss a few topics in my partner's certification book.
Little did we know, those plans would soon be out the window. Suzy was about to log her final miles as a patrol
car, and my partner and I were about to make the biggest arrest in both our careers.
While on the side of the road during
a routine traffic stop, we received a call from dispatch. A suspect had murdered a man about fifteen miles away with a handgun,
and had eluded the local police in a high-speed chase. He was driving fast, heavily armed... and headed our way.
We quickly jumped back in the Caprice and drove to an intersection
where we expected to intercept the suspect's vehicle. Sure enough the vehicle flew by within a few seconds, and the chase
was on. We eventually pulled the suspect to the side of the road and performed a felony car stop, and you guessed it -- I
grabbed the ol' shotgun as my weapon of choice.
made the arrest. By the time it was said and done, about a dozen city, county and state police vehicles had responded to the
scene, turning a once-sleepy rural area into a surreal war zone. My partner and I received commendations for the arrest, which
would be the pinnacle of both our patrol careers. Suzy had performed perfectly throughout the episode, but as we drove back
to the station it was obvious that she was limping and had lost a considerable amount of power.
I test-drove Suzy a couple of times afterwards, but she just didn't respond up to the
high performance levels that are required of a patrol vehicle. She had fought her last battle and went out like a proverbial
rock star. Shortly afterwards, she was stripped of her police equipment and sold in a surplus auction. The Chevy Caprice era
for patrol cars in the State of Oregon was over.
Somewhere in Germany (1992) and Egypt
(1993) during the U.S. Army Cavalry days.
Being a securities broker can be deadly
during times of excessive market volatility. If you don't believe me, just ask the guy on the right.
Ever want to listen to an Australian female
group with bubblegum-pop harmonies and overdriven, distorted Marshall amps? Me too! This link provides just that:
Join the Official
Join us and be a part of the
staff, fans and the team historian... You'll find all of us actively participating in the group!
PLEASE NOTE that the current Gamblers-related conversations
and updates are happening in the Facebook group. We'll see you there!