Oct 15, 2005

The American Way

And God almighty
Originally uploaded by macnamband.

1 p.m. Game time in Hartford. The game is supposed to be played at Weslyan College but the fields there are flooded, so the game is played at the closest NESCAC school, Trinity College. They have a big time field, artificial grass, cathedral overhead, and room for 11,000 fans. But Trinity is away this weekend and nobody cares about two 0-3 teams. A few hundred appear, parents, friends, and a man with a bible.

In fact, it's a great game. Bates gets an early chance, squanders it. Weslyan gets an early chance and scores and then scores again. In a flash they're up 13 points. People on the Bates sideline are saying, "here we go again." They look like winless people, like Bill Murrays in Groundhog Day. Some of them have driven a long way, from Maine, from western Mass. They're bundled up although it's not cold. Bundled up because each week they come hoping to go home feeling good about themselves, but they never do. They shake their heads, they shrug shoulders, they smile ironically. Of course, football doesn't matter. But you like to see your boy win once in a while, you like to feel some pride in Bates College and yourself. And these aren't people who would like the idea that the college AD is a lesbo, reputedly, in the jock shop, she is. They weren't happy to hear the college president say she doesn't think sports matter much at all. At $42,000 a year they want their piece of respect. After all, they're Bruschis, and if he can come back after a heart attack, by God Bates can too.

Double stix is having a slow day. A couple balls come his way. He gets 11 yards on a punt return. Bla,bla,bla... But then on second down, pass play, Dylan streaks, ball's in the air, defense screaming 'ball, ball, ball". But you think, no way that kid's gonna catch up with that ball, no fuckin' way, but the ball has arc and this kid can close on a ball. The corner is beaten, even though Dylan stumbled out of the gate, and now, as though he were catching a cake, Dylan puts up his palms and takes the offering as though from God... But the kicker misses the extra point.

Half time. Girl's lacrosse on the other side of the bleechers. Girls in blue miniskirts with white trim against girls in red teashirts. EA lot short white legs, everybody whacking balls, running every which way, bent over in an awkward way, like if you had a hockey stick that was too short and had hardly a tail.

Overhead, the clouds are threatening. Teams return. Bates gets a score; Weslyan gets a score. Bates is behind late in the game, but they're moving. Third and long. Dylan runs an out and pops up like a tree growing in fast motion and catches the first down. Incredible catch, the catch of the day. A minute and a half remaining. Bates is within striking distance. Ball goes up again, like a mortar shell. Aiming for the near right corner of the end zone. Dylan streaking, and on this surface you can't hear anything, no pounding, as though it's a silent reel. He closes easily, goes up, corner goes up, both reaching and Dylan takes it down. Bates up by 7. The game seems won. But D 3 gods are a merciless lot. With no time, Weslyan scores, ties. OT.

Another travail. On the last play, Dylan, who has been playing both ways, misses a scrambling Q, but Q throws a bad ball. Game done. People in the stands can breathe again, feel good for about 25 minutes, maybe the whole drive home. D gets offensive MVP.

double stix
Originally uploaded by macnamband.