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Twenty years after the fact, when I'm feeling nostalgic, I take a look back at that magical district championship we captured and try to isolate the turning point.
We were getting drubbed by halftime. Down two touchdowns at least. And most of us, if not all, had absolutely no hope in turning the game around.
As I remember it, the time of day prevented our quarterback from seeing downfield. The sunset, gorgeous to any and all not embroiled in the deadly theatre laid out for the world to see, served only as a giant cock that battered Ronnie Morton's eyes into submission.
That's when Coach Manville took it upon himself to get our heads on straight. He'd always give us some sort of pseudo-inspirational speech before we headed back onto the field, but his usual diatribe filled with witless one-liners and sports clichés wasn't going to do the trick this time around. We knew it. And as I'd soon discover, he knew it too.
After drawing up a bootleg pass play on the blackboard, which had been our bread-and-butter all season long, but which had failed to materialize properly on the field that gaudy afternoon, Coach sauntered over to me. I was bruised and battered. I had probably lost a pint of blood on that godless field, but I wasn't going to bitch about it.
Coach grabbed the icebag, which had been comforting the pain of a dislocated shoulder (in all likelihood), and tore it open. Pieces of ice scattered everywhere. He stood completely still for a moment, and then knelt down to grab a single cube.
Viggo Henrikssen, a rough Danish import, just wasn't getting the job done at split end. Coach moved in his direction, and we all anticipated a torrent of anger to come streaming out into Viggo's ears. Instead, the shirtless Viggo served as a temporary blackboard for Coach's ice chalk. Once again, he drew up the same bootleg masterpiece, slowly, effortlessly...only this time, the patterns were emblazoned on flesh.
Of course, the dripping water didn't tell us much. But it lit a fire in the asses of all of us. Most of all, in Viggo, who caught three touchdown passes to put us ahead for good. Ronnie's eyes obviously recovered in time to spray passes every which way. With accuracy, mind you. The sunset had been sheathed, and we all responded to the dark entreaties of Coach Manville's dark eyes.
Darkly, I still can't put my finger on it, but I try, again and again, to do just that. Maybe it's best that way. We won, goddammit, and no one can take that away.
Date Written: February 03, 2005
Average Vote: 2.6667