The stands at Oak Park Stadium were filling up about an hour before kick-off. Families brought their kids – even their little ones in strollers. OPRF students were decked out in their school colors, though one student decided to deck himself out in body-paint from head to torso.
Among the fans in attendance were pals John Mullins and Mike Stamm. The two have known each other since their high school days – Mullins attended Fenwick High School and Stamm OPRF. They watched plenty of football games and were ecstatic about seeing Friday night football in the village. Mullins has a freshman and sophomore attending OPRF and Stamm said his two little ones will one day.
“I’m so happy that we finally get to do this,” said Mullins, just before giving his daughter a hug after she just arrived with her friends. “It almost didn’t happen, and then the village this spring finally gave the OK.”
“This is beautiful,” added Stamm, an ’86 OPRF alum, looking at the lit up field. “Just look at this; all these kids. This is something.”
The two buddies also ribbed each other, a likely carryover from their high school days. Stamm joked that his friend has some bad memories from watching OPRF football games in the stands. He recalled Mullins being photographed in a local paper in the stands during an OPRF game. His Fenwick classmates saw the photo and got a little friendly revenge. “They paddled me the entire week. Not one day, but the entire week,” said Mullins.
The ’85 Fenwick graduate also shared another memory. During a 1959 football game between OPRF and Fenwick, his dad – whose name he jokingly refused to give for fear of incrimination – made his own bit of infamous history, Mullins said.
According to Mullins, his dad, a Fenwick student at the time, swiped the keys to one of Fenwick’s buses, drove it from Fenwick to OPRF’s stadium, and, during halftime, drove it onto the field, parking it on the 50-yard-line.
“He knew where the keys were, took them and drove the bus right through the gate,” Mullins said.
He said his dad got out of the bus and ran, but was later identified as the bus joy riding culprit. His dad had driven the bus, according to Mullins, through the gate leading onto the field, then-located on the northeast side of the stadium on Linden. As for any silver lining for his dad: “They still let him graduate in 1960,” said Mullins.