Monday, November 28, 2005

Twilight of the Gods

Five days ago, I announced the annual Thanksgiving Mud Football Classic for Friday at 2:00 PM. They say bad news travels like wildfire, but in this case it was sweet gospel that swept through town with blazing urgency. Navigating the hordes of Carmel High alumni thronging the local dives Wednesday night, the tension was palpable. Danger was more than just a posted sign. I don’t know if it would be fair to say that a table was prepared before me in the presence of mine enemies, but at least two Sierra Nevadas were. I smiled grimly at friend and foe alike, and slept soundly the next two nights, having made my peace.

Inevitably, at times like this, I recall the anecdote about the prisoner who, chided by his guards for dawdling en route to the gallows, quipped “Nothing will happen until I get there.” Evidently, thirty other people were thinking the same thing – in other words, the CVMFL enjoyed by far the best turnout in its nearly seven-year history. The result was a defensive coordinator’s dream and a tailback’s worst nightmare. The score at the water break, after which half of the players excused themselves, was a piddling five touchdowns to four (extra points are not yet attempted in the CVMFL). For the record, my team lost the first series and won the second, albeit in totally different types of games.

If I learned one thing from the fallout from the season preview, it was that I could not attempt to pay adequate tribute to all the athletes who participated, nor could I have foreseen who would emerge from the shadows of obscurity and decrepitude to reclaim his lineage. Nor, I should say, did everyone live up to the threats he made against your humble narrator for his crimes of omission. In any case, I am not naming names. Instead, I wish to salute every player on the field Friday, to a man. Whether it was the ability to kick mud in the face of an opponent at a crucial juncture, or a well-placed jab in the eye socket en route to a two-yard pickup for the first down, you all contributed something ineffable. We can look forward to the Christmas Classic knowing that the legacy of the kings is secure. As Brother Scott Manke put it, we left it all on the field. And there, where we laid that strange, dark burden down, shall we take it up again.

I have a few fond (and self-serving) moments from the game: recovering my own onside kick, coming off a corner blitz for one of the most vicious sacks of my career, and watching time and again as our defensive backs came up with the ball after the Flatliners forced a bad throw with our relentless pressure. Although very few of them came on offense, there were too many great plays made by both teams to enumerate here. Instead, I am going to request that everyone add his own in the comments section. Anything that you feel is worthy of publicity, feel free to write down. The battle to spread democracy to our planet has come right home to this blog.

(Cue bugles and drums).


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