10 Dec

–ok so. this down you blitz.
–ok, break.
one mississippi two mississippi three mississippi…
(everything happens quickly and simultaneously and then it’s over)

–ok. but this time you gotta blitz, ok?
–this down. blitz on this down.
one mississippi two mississippi three mississippi…
(everything happens quickly and simultaneously and then it’s over again)

–ok, just…you gotta, you gotta blitz. ok? on this one.
–ok, yea.
–go in, ok? don’t wait for him to count.
–ok, break.
one mississippi, two…
–BLITZ ALREADY. shit. don’t let’im count.
Joey Dunkle takes off down the side and Corey Boland throws to him but Joey drops the ball.
–you fuckhead! it was right there.
–why’n you blitz? jesus. what’d I tell you?
–leave him alone. don’t matter anyway.
–shit. fuckin’ alien.
–leave him alone.
–fuck him. the fuckin’ alien.
–he don’t know how to play yet.
–fuck him still.

a few weeks later I took down Steve Novotny with a wicked tackle during a kickoff return. i blindsided him, but not on purpose. he just never saw me coming. Steve Novotny was a football player, but I was a big kid and he went down hard. the Japanese kid, Satoshi Watanabe, ran the thing all the way back and scored. I thought Steve Novotny was going to kill me but instead he got up and came and shook my hand and said nice block. I thought I did something wrong. all the others came and patted my back. that night me and Mikey Gaydos camped out on the bank of Lake Erie, just behind my apartment building. it was the night of the Cooney-Holmes fight. I wanted Cooney to win because he was white. that’s who my da wanted and so that’s who I wanted. it rained that Friday night. in the tent, Mikey Gaydos told me who Brian Sipe and Lyle Alzado were. there was a song on the radio about the Cleveland Browns. they were called the Kardiac Kids. it was the twelve days of christmas only with the lyrics changed to the names of the players. that was the month before the Oakland Raiders and Red Right 88. Gerry Cooney lost to Larry Holmes that night. in the spring Mikey Gaydos moved to virginia beach. my ma paid the rent on our one-bedroom at the lobby office. it was $218. the week before, my ma almost froze to death walking home from Revco. someone stole our car so she had to walk to Pick-n-Pay and Revco to get food and aspirin.

i never got to like football.


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