I was very sad to read in the paper this morning of the passing of Norman Sas. He passed away on June 28th at his home in Verno Beach, Florida. He was 87 years old.
Now, I have to be honest here. Until this morning, I had no idea who Norman Sas was, but as I read his obituary, I realized that this unknown man had a major effect on my childhood, and I would assume he had the same effect on many children born in the 50’s and 60’s and even beyond. You see, in the days before Nitendo or Xbox or the Wii, Mr. Sas invented a game that would marvel both kids and adults. It may seem a little boring to the kids of today, but in its day, this game could occupy hours and hours of our time. It was a simple little game called Tru-Action Football.
For those who may not recognize the game, let me explain the basic concept. Each player would take turns being the offence or defence, and usually about fifteen to twenty minutes were spent setting up your little plastic football players on the flat metal surface. A tiny football indicated who had possession. Once all the pieces were set, a black switch was flipped, and the whole board started to vibrate, causing all the carefully set up men to crash into each other in a giant plastic orgy.
And that was it. You would watch the pieces bounce around, and at some point it was decided the play was over, and then the whole set up would start all over again. It is hard to believe at this point that we spent so much time playing the game, but we did. Until we finally had enough and then went outside and played an actual game of football.
Although I had never met him, I want to say thank you to the late Norman Sas. I can now put a name to a great childhood memory.