As the state high school football playoffs approach, the time has arrived to talk some smack.
Friendly, respectful, good-natured, prep-level, amateur-style smack.
Here, Schaumburg, is some bulletin-board material for you: You got no shot this weekend.
The Saxons have an 8-1 record, are a No. 2 seed in Class 7A and might have had a chance to win a state championship.
Except that Schaumburg's first-round opponent is Chicago Public League representative Schurz High School, the Bulldogs, Bulldogs, mighty-mighty Bulldogs from the hallowed intersection of Milwaukee and Addison.
Yes, I happen to be a Schurz alum even if the school won't admit it. I bleed Purple and Gold. Once a Bulldog always a Bulldog. Woof-woof-woof.
"So be true to your school now … Just like you would to your girl or guy … Be true to your school now … And let your colors fly."
Those Beach Boys lyrics apply to all you fans of playoff teams throughout the suburbs and city and around the state.
Be true to your school … just don't expect me to be true to your school.
Schaumburg fans surely will forgive my allegiance to Schurz. They wouldn't want me to betray the school that tried to educate me for four years, finally surrendered to my intellectual inadequacies and handed me a diploma just to be rid of me.
I have suffered an acute case of nostalgia this autumn, perhaps because of my 50-year class reunion over Labor Day weekend.
Some of my closest friends played on the 1963 mighty-mighty Bulldogs team that won the Public League championship. To this day in the annals of Schurz athletics they stand as Purple princes of the prairie and Gold gods of the gridiron.
At the reunion dinner a classmate stood up and hailed that team. In the process he mentioned something most of us still hold dear: "And we beat Lane in the title game!!!"
This was 50 years later. Many of us never outgrow our high school years. The rivalry with the school east on Addison still burns inside a Bulldogs backer.
A half-century from now, similar memories and emotions will reside inside today's prep football players and their classmates.
"Two bits, four bits, six bits a dollar … all for the Bulldogs stand up and holler!"
If 50 years ago Schurz could dispose of Lane Tech -- at the time an all-boys football power -- 50 years later Schaumburg shouldn't pose much of a problem. Nor should Geneva or St. Patrick in Round 2 or any NFL team in the Super Bowl.
Look, Saxons, I love you but what else can I do but cheer for Schurz? Neither Avondale grammar school, the last place able to teach me anything, or the University of Illinois, which failed miserably trying, has a football team.
Well, Avondale doesn't have one as far as I know, and Illinois doesn't have one that won a Big Ten game in what seems like 50 years.
Schurz, which sandwiched me between those two other institutions of higher learning, appears to be experiencing a football renaissance. Every week the past couple of months I found myself checking the Internet to see how the Bulldogs, Bulldogs, mighty-mighty Bulldogs did on the way to their eventual 6-3 record.
It turned out that they did well enough to be in the same Class 7A bracket as Fenwick, a school overdue for a whipping as retribution for beating Schurz 40-0 in the 1963 Prep Bowl.
Grudges aren't healthy but some are hard to shake, you know what I mean?
First things first, however, and first smack first.
"California peaches, Texas cactus … we play Schaumburg, just for practice!"