The Past is Present1In 2007, to commemorate the 75
anniversary of theIndustrial Football League (IFL), executives of the leaguecommissioned a tribute titled “The Past is Present.” Theyturned to Johnny Parks, longtime IFL announcer, to writeand voice it.The IFL is a six-team, two-conference organizationconsisting of independently owned clubs around RobertsCounty. It was started in 1932 during the Great Depressionby local businesses as a means to boost morale amongemployees and customers.Players earned extra money at a time when it was hard tocome by. The second job status from the league’s early dayswas never abandoned. Even in current times, the league’splayers hold down jobs elsewhere and play for theirrespective teams in the evening and on weekends.
Only choice for tribute was Johnny Parks
Parks’ reputation as a sportscaster was legendary. Hisbroadcasts of events in and around the county had thrilledlisteners for decades. He was the first announcer votedinto the Roberts County Hall of Fame and the only sportsfigure inducted before retiring. His selection as the voicefor the tribute was never questioned.In the summer of 2007, Parks began writing the tribute. Hishealth had been failing and he would give himself as muchtime as possible. He spent the entire month of August atSpring Lake, New Jersey crafting the piece. His words andvoice would be accompanied by original music and archivalfootage of the IFL’s first 75 years.In September, one month before the start of the season,Parks recorded “The Past is Present.” Everyone in thestudio raved about it. Parks captured both the historicroots of the league and its part-time players. Further, hepresented the pain and grueling season endured in terms andextremes similar to other professional footballers.
Later in the evening, a fire broke out in the recordingstudio. Everything was destroyed, including that day’s workon “The Past is Present.” No backups or duplicates had beensaved nor had second versions been stored elsewhere.