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Gold and Black Illustrated Vol28, Digital1

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 1 14 great person." So with Oscar, it all started. "The Brohm name meant a lot when (Oscar) was a celebrity athlete," Schnellenberger said. The legacy grew as Oscar's brothers came through the ranks and all played football collegiately. Frank was a quarterback at Flaget before going to Eastern Kentucky; Dennis was a quarterback and running back for Flaget before playing at Dayton; Mike continued the QB tradi- tion at a different high school in the area, Bishop David, before playing for two years at Western Kentucky; twins Donnie and Ronnie were a quarterback-receiver combi- nation — there'd be another Brohm one to come — at DeSales High School in the late 70s before heading to the University of Louisville. Donnie and Ronnie helped DeSales beat rising foot- ball power Trinity — a highlight of their career — while brother Dennis was coaching there. "They were pretty good," Oscar said of his brothers. "So they kept it going." The family's legacy grew within the neighborhood ev- ery November. That's when all the Brohm boys and seemingly all their buddies smashed into the backyard of the Brohm house on Deveron Drive for what they dubbed the "Turkey Bowl." The McGraths lived on the street behind Deveron, Thistledawn, so John and his brothers made sure to pop over and participate. Oscar's dad would hop onto the roof and film the games. They were brutal, bloody and intense games of tackle football — hard to be much else considering the dimen- sions of the yard were 20 by, maybe, 15 feet. It was liter- ally five guys lined up shoulder to shoulder on the "line" grinding ahead with a ballcarrier behind. It was serious, too. There was an MVP trophy and, of course, bragging rights — and endless stories regaling and exaggerating moments, plays and, yes, injuries and fights. One year, Oscar was forced to the hospital with three broken ribs and a collapsed lung. Apparently, there's still a debate that rages today on whether he was injured on a dirty play. (The culprit, by the way, was one of his own brothers.) Afterward, all would huddle into the Brohm house, pull out the reel-to-reel and watch games from previous years. One year, there were as many as eight college football players playing in the game, McGrath said. "We'd all come back (from college), we'd eat Thanks- giving dinner and we'd go straight to the Brohms' house," McGrath said of the tradition that started in the 1970s. "It went back so many years that I can remember one year Jeff and Greg were holding the sticks — they utilized brooms and whatever — and had the downmarkers on the brooms. So it was really, really a tradition that we looked forward to every year. As we got older, we had to give it up." Part of that was because of the physical toll the game took. Another factor: Their attention was diverted to raising their own families. G reg and Jeff Brohm had little choice. As the sons of Oscar and Donna, who was an elite athlete pre-Title IX in the 1960s and may be the most competitive of the bunch, and the nephews of six sport-enthusiast uncles, oldest son Greg and Jeff, one year younger, were enlisted into youth leagues in multi- ple sports ASAP. Even before they started organized football, Oscar had them in the backyard preparing arms, hands and feet. Greg isn't quite sure why, as the oldest, he wasn't groomed to be the QB — and, really, Oscar says he's not sure either, admitting Greg has "a really good throwing motion" — but Jeff earned that label as a youngster, and Greg landed at receiver. They started in flag football and made an impression early: While the other teams in the league were handing off, their team, coached by Oscar, was chucking 20 pass- es a game. Most kids that young can't throw and catch well, let alone consistently. "They could," Oscar said. "In first grade, they could throw and they could catch. " As 8- and 7-year-old kids, Greg and Jeff played in the Fern Creek youth leagues, baseball in the sum- mer, coached by their dad, and basketball in the winter, coached by their dad. "They were good at all of them. They excelled at every- thing," McGrath said. "So there was a big buzz."

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