A Farewell to Pigskin

Huddle up. Arms around shoulders so the enemy cannot eavesdrop. Inhale the scent of men and sweat and clear-gel deodorant.
 
Charles McLaine, your opponent in the "Co-Ed Naked Twister" T-shirt is as full from deep-dish pizza as a woman with child. Sprint for three seconds, then button-hook for a pass that is good and true and tightly spiraling. Yes, my brave comrade, drink deeply of your Arctic Shatter Powerade.
 
Wilson, run past the New Jerseyan with vigor and manliness in a post pattern. You will be served by your agility gained playing soccer in the streets of Madrid and your dexterity from rolling cigars in Havana. I know you have not been to either place but there is not the same brute economy of language in "playing tennis on the courts of Darien" and "rolling marijuana cigarettes at Middlebury."
 
Billy, streak past the plane of the end zone marked by the Old Navy sweatshirts. You may be guarded by a woman but she has a masculine name and a short haircut and superior footwork. Do not ask for the ball; the ball asks for thee. If it arrives it will be accurate and lobbed and hurt your chest because you have butterfingers.
 
O-line, I need torrents of time, not just up to Seven-Mississippi. I am like an aged yet wily matador, and the nose tackle is a lusty bull, and you are a castrated picador without his lance, and Billy is the rodeo clown who creates a diversion. I no longer have the grace under pressure of my youth because of the accident. I seldom talk about it but in the company of huddled men I feel comfortable making oblique references. Rehab was cold and ruthless. I will never again ski in the Alpine mountains of Switzerland. Okay, you all had a good laugh last week -- once more, while selecting the color of my knee brace on eBay, I clicked erroneously on "Hot Pink."
 
Charles McLaine, within the huddle there is no texting! I do not care if you had a fight with your girlfriend. Women will distract you on game day with their long dark hair that would get in their eyes if they ever crouched in a three-point stance.
 
As official quarterback I have made a separate peace with both the savvy McLaine, Wilson & Weinstein Legal Pads and the fearsome Green Visors of the CPA Flag-Football League. Therefore, it is immaterial to me which side first reaches 49 points during this three-day weekend festival of Columbus and wins a postgame round of beer that is cold and refreshing and low-carb and earns them the right to speak about themselves in the third-person.
 
That you have already forgotten your assignments makes me question if that really is Powerade inside your wineskins. You are all a generation of lost wideouts. I will diagram the play in the brown and sterile earth with this retractable pointer. We are the Christlike figure of "X"; they, the feminine "O". The receiver routes intersect like Edenic vines. The offensive line drops back into pass protection like the Praetorian Guard -- that is you, Weinstein.
 
We are summoned to action by Phil's obnoxious fake snoring. Behold the plan. Commit it to memory. Execute it with precision and an absence of holding penalties. Break!

 

Teddy Wayne is the author of Kapitoil.

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