A short story about American Football by Dewey Edward Chester. Enjoy your day, Yareah friends. Art is everywhere!
I stepped inside the Golden Panther clubhouse. I would gather here with the rest of my teammates. We would have our ankles taped and egos primed.
The season had been victorious. But now, standing in dim lighting, I felt a creeping doubt. Could I win this big game?
A swinging ceiling lamp cast moving shadows on the walls. But fragments of thoughts were flooding my mind….toys in the attic, memories of yesterdays.
I was thinking of how much I had grown up to love football; screaming out at the world!
I walked toward the room’s corner and stood in shadow. The smell of rubbing alcohol was strong. A padded cot was near.
The room’s door opened and a breeze blew in. It forced the ceiling lamp to sway at odd angles. In shadow, I saw Laura. She was standing there, watching me.
Her coil had sprung, she had come for me. She offered her mouth. I reached toward her breast, reached her neck and she swayed backward, in dizzy fashion.
I undressed her, letting her clothes fall to the floor. And she was before me, naked, rubbing pink nipples against my chest, daring my passion.
I laid her on the cot. I stroked her hair. I touched her strangely—-at times fierce, like a cat. Indeed, I was her Panther. Her jungle was mine to roam.
She sighed, tasting her joy, molding me over and over with her mouth. She dug her nails into my flesh. A blindness discovering touch.
And when I moved, I wasn’t nearly satisfied, until I moved her faster and faster—-until her screams were blending with ninety thousand screams of other people — “Do you love me? Do you love me?” Her echoes took my breath away.
Opposing student sections faced each other; competing for best yells and best screams, with color cards.
The Duke University marching band was on the field, dressed up like real blue devils. They even wore those long blue capes.
I won the coin toss and ran the kickoff back.
But Duke stopped me, and rammed the football down my throat. Duke’s best players were Landsdell and Smith; two men who put on a magnificent show. They cut me down cold, twice!
But then I stopped them, and on my first offensive play, I tried to fool old Harry Smith. “Let’s see how strong he really is,” I whispered to myself. I put my head down, driving straight forward as hard as I could. But I went over backwards instead, and old Harry Smith recovered my fumbled ball.
Duke now snapped the football to Landsdell, who cut back over center…but from nowhere, Nik arrived, blasting the Blue Devil’s chest. The ball flew high up in the air…until finally Nik scooped it up and headed for the score.
Two Blue Devils hit him, hard, but Nik kept right on running. He broke into the clear….Touchdown?? But no! My Pardner hit the ground, just short.
By halftime, we were lucky our game was close. In the locker room, Coach Michelson was waiting for us. And he was mad. He grabbed me by the arm and said, “You’re playing scared, Stahr!
“Look! You can beat these guys! Open up and start throwing the ball. That’s what got you here! You’re in a position to win. But take the fight to them.
“You’re my man, understand that, Stahr. I always knew you were the best. Now go out there and show the world your stuff!”
In the second half, I came out throwing. I missed on two quick scores. But suddenly I started to click. I threw for eighteen to Nik. I hit my end for another big gain. I sent my fullback to the three. The winning score was just behind that Blue Devil’s tail.
Pittsburgh Stadium’s crowd was roaring. First and goal. I crashed Duke’s flank myself, but found it much too tough. I tried the right side, where a big hole developed. But my fullback was hit hard and stopped cold. I faced fourth down with seconds left to play. Could I make the right call?
What would Professor Pierce say about all this? Which mountain does my train run through? The black one; the white one? Did it matter?
In my huddle my voice was one that counted.
I took the snap from center, faked an end run, then leaped high up in the air, and threw the ball to Nik, for the score. The Blue Devil died that day.
After the game, I walked slowly back down the stadium tunnel, ovations followed behind me. The sounds echoed in waves: ”Do you love me,” is what kept running through my mind.
It was night when I left the Golden Panther Clubhouse. The shadow of Pittsburgh’s Stadium hung over me. It was raining and the campus glittered like gold. All of my teammates were gone now, only trash remained on the ground to show a championship was won that day.