Untotaled: Stepping 16 (October 2nd, 1965) 64-0 … May 31, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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(Transcript)

Catholic kids had all the advantages.

That’s why, when I looked on our football schedule for the year and saw that Barker Academy was on October 2nd, I was really pissed off.

Being raised in the Midwest, I was not really favorable to Catholics in the first place. I didn’t know why–just something I inherited and was infused in me during my training by my family and community.

I kind of think we hated them because they had money. (It’s ironic that we hate other people for having money as we desperately pursue getting money. Maybe it’s the classic case of self-hatred.)

Barker Academy didn’t have any more players than we did. Matter of fact, we out-weighed them and seemed to have even cuter uniforms.

So when the game started and I lined up in front of a 150-pound kid wearing wire-framed glasses covered with black tape, peeking at me through his battered helmet, I nearly giggled. I was almost double his size and certainly not wearing such ridiculous spectacles.

Yet when the ball was hiked on the first play and I found myself knocked on my backside as the running back dashed past me, forty-five yards for a touchdown, I realized that this little Catholic boy was going to have to die.

I tried everything–overpowering him, tricking him, even tried to trip him a couple of times–all to no avail.

At the end of the first quarter, when we were behind 28-0, fear crept into my bowels. Those ugly glasses that donned his face now seemed to posses the power to destroy.

So in a fit of desperation, on the next play I hurled my body over the line, knocking the kid over, grabbing onto the leg of the running back, only to procure his shoe in my hand as he ran fifty-two yards for another score.

In some desire to prove my value, I carried the boy’s shoe over to the bench to show my coach that I was making a valiant effort. He just stared at me as the referee retrieved the footwear and whistled for play to continue.

I played both ways. That means I was on offense, too. Did I happen to mention that we had none?

It was almost like Barker Academy not only knew what play we were going to run, and had figured out a way to foil it, but had also rehearsed dances and jigs to taunt us every time they threw us for a loss.

Shortly before the first half was over, I ran to the sideline and in deep exasperation, I screamed at the coach: “We need a better defense!”

He gave me that gaze you often see on the countenance of a serial killer, and then rethought his murderous ways, hearkening back to his training of a Bachelor of Education Degree from Ohio State University, and yelled back, “We don’t need a new defense! We just need you to defend!”

It was a good point, though it made me pout.

The second half was no better than the first half. It was the longest two hours of my life, as Barker beat us to a pulp, 64-0.

For the next two weeks, I woke up in a cold sweat almost every night, being chased by those ugly wire-frame, taped glasses.

I know it is appropriate, at this point in a story, to share what I learned from this experience, or to bring it to some sort of hopeful conclusion.

I have none.

The only thing I can tell you is, as I walked off the field, I swore to myself: never again.

 

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