Two Sundays ago, an interesting thing happened for the most historically oppressed (depressed?) group I know of: fans of the Detroit Lions football team. Oh, how we — young and old, men and women — have suffered! But, on Nov. 13, without playing a game, the Lions moved into first place, and our hopes were raised.
Could the Lions actually make the playoffs this season? By just mentioning this hope, have I jinxed them?
While cruising the Davidson Digital Archive with the Lions on my mind, I ran across an interesting story about the Lions’ first trainer — Aid “Abe” Kushner — in the Nov. 11, 1983, issue of the JN. Kushner was Jewish and the youngest trainer in the National Football League at the time. He became trainer in 1934 when the Lions moved from Portsmouth, Ohio, to Detroit.
As Kushner relates in his story, he became something of an institution for the Lions, helping to form its alumni group in 1950. The JN article also provides some interesting historical facts about professional football, such as most players received $100 a game in the early years and were expected to play for the entire 60 minutes of a game.
Kushner’s story about the first 50 years of the Detroit Lions is an interesting read. Now, if only the Lions can repeat the success of 1935, 1952, 1953 and 1957, when they were NFL champs.
Want to learn more? Go to the DJN Foundation archives, available for free at www.djnfoundation.org.
By Mike Smith
Detroit Jewish News