Odie Armstrong Honored Tonight
October 19, 2012By Patti Harrell of Vardaman High School
“Odie Who?” The sign hung on the opposite side of the field, nearly glowing on the shiny white paper against the black and orange backdrop. As if responding to the question, #9 ran past the quarterback, received the football, and cradled the ball against the royal blue jersey. Determined to prove himself worthy of the spotlight, the local hero spun away from the first of the three opponents equally determined to stop him. He noticed the second threat being obliterated by a junior teammate. The third grabbed his jersey, but #9 refused to slow though the jersey pulled against him. Suddenly, the hero felt his opponent’s hands and shoulder sliding down his hips and legs. As the enemy clung desperately to his ankles, #9 stumbled and nearly fell. But by some miracle, #9 stayed on his feet. Regaining his composure, #9 ran the remaining twenty-eight yards to the goal line. Never had our hero experienced such glory. The crowd, elated and undaunted by the opponent’s sign, once again chanted, “O-DEE! O-DEE! O-DEE!”
At some point during a game that Odie, with only four carries, rushed for over 100 yards and four touchdowns, a fan in the stands responded to the “Odie Who?” cry of our opponents with the single word: Superman! The nickname somehow stuck. Though his current team recently won the AFL championship with Odie wearing #32, Odie “Superman” Armstrong will always be #9 in our hearts. While playing for Vardaman High, Odie rushed for a total of 5,838 yards. He scored 104 touchdowns – 39 of those touchdowns during his senior year.
But Odie was not simply a jock. He was elected by his classmates as Mr. VHS, Most Athletic, Best All Around, and Most Likely to Succeed. Vardaman’s Superman has continued to live up to the expectations of the small town that loves him. Tonight we honor the boy he was and the man he has become by retiring the #9 jersey.
The ceremony will begin at 6:40 p.m. Come early because Odie always packed the stands!