Category Archives: Football

Underneath the Hedges

Hakk-Saul sat down on the bench to tie his shoes.  His throat was sore from a fit of screaming that took place on the drive down to the stadium.  Ordinarily, he went to home games by himself because he liked to clear his head while driving (and listen to music he wasn’t ready to let anyone know he liked).  Today was different; Hakk-Saul did a favor for the defensive coach and gave the team photographer a ride.  There were car troubles and the photographer was on the way.

Hakk-Saul took the usual route of surface streets, an access road, and more surface streets.  Afternoon traffic was beginning to bulge but he was used to it and wasn’t bothered by waiting.  He wasn’t bothered at all until the pine green bread cart of a car sped in front of him and into the turning lane where he was already queuing.  The head coach had been urging Hakk-Saul for half the season to let the anger flow, to let all the rage gush out like lava from an erupted volcano, and to burn everything in its path — he had to protect the quarterback.  Hakk-Saul didn’t like summoning that kind of energy because it seemed insincere.  Besides, he’d forgotten how it felt to be angry.

Seeing that green car behaving in such a ludicrous manner bit into Hakk-Saul’s psyche, though.  There was no room for him to follow the four cars who’d turned before him and yet here was this idiot zipping by as if it was going to make traffic move any faster.  Hakk-Saul waited twenty seconds before turning onto the on-ramp, occupying the space to the right of the green car.  At that point, he’d forgotten the photographer was in the back seat.  Hakk-Saul’s attention was focused solely on that idiot car.  He turned and stared into the childish, grinning face of its passenger and merged into the ramp behind it.

Creeping down the on-ramp half a car-length every couple of minutes, Hakk-Saul changed the music from progressive house to melodies with vocal screeching, heavy percussion, and shrieking guitars.  With dark brown sunglasses resting on his sweaty face, Hakk-Saul glared into the green car’s side mirrors.  He dropped his lower jaw like a draw bridge, bared his teeth, and growled.  In a matter of seconds, his raspy exhalations became a crescendo of an unholy, guttural orchestra.

His hands shook, his face trembled, his heart rate spiked and for the next quarter of a mile, Hakk-Saul thought of nothing but ramming into that car, its occupants tossed around like fish by giants, heads crashing into stone, faces lacerated by cenobites, and limbs torn asunder by enormous spider crabs.  All the while, the photographer was sitting in the back as still and quiet as paint drying on a wall, neither seen nor heard…just barely smelled.

Hakk-Saul’s fury passed on through a few minutes later and he felt calm.  He was still sweaty and annoyed, but all the destructive imagery in his mind’s eye had faded.  He changed lanes as quickly as he could and shot past that green fool at the first opportunity.  And then he shifted his mind onto the team he’d be playing against as well as whether or not he’d be able to tap into that slide-show of physiological combustion when it mattered.

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Today’s post was inspired by true events.

Find a Way Home

The boy with the faded, teal low-top Chuck Taylors leaned against the wall next to the back door of the Irish pub.  His wavy, dark brown hair made contact with the damp brick behind his head and what was intended to be five minutes of leaning soon turned into a sliding down and slump onto the ground.  He’d been walking for four hours off-and-on and only had a tuna sandwich and a couple bottles of water over the course of that time.

The boy wanted to rest, not just take a cat nap, but he had no place to stay, no home in this city.  He shifted uncomfortably on the asphalt and covered his face with his hands.  He wasn’t sure how long he stayed in that position when he felt moderate weight on his left thigh as though someone had set the Oxford Dictionary into his lap.  He opened his eyes and was face-to-face with a pair of brown eyes, a round, wet nose, and a pink tongue.

The boy blinked, rubbed his eyes, but the furry pup was still there.  The weight he felt was the dog’s front paws, and in his lap was a football.  It was brand new, shiny, and smelled like bacon.  The boy’s stomach groaned.  The dog started licking him, then barked at him and trotted in the direction of the street.  The dog waited by the post office box for the boy to stand up before proceeding a couple blocks to the right.  The boy did his best to keep up with the sandy colored canine.  He was so tired by the time he’d entered the purple door that he didn’t notice the corgi curled up on the sofa where the boy passed out.

When he woke up two hours later, the sandy dog was sitting by his feet and the corgi was in a sploot on his chest.  The football was on the floor and still smelled like bacon.

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The above story was inspired by an early evening rain shower.

Basketball’s Artistic Merit

The Fung Bros.’ video on NBA Moves got me thinking about the artistic nature of the athletic performance of basketball moves and scoring.

Even though the ultimate goal is to win by outscoring one’s opponent, it isn’t enough that the players just get the ball into the hoop as many times as possible.  Methodology necessitates that players try to keep the other team from scoring by getting the ball back or “fouling” them.  In baseball, the pitcher strikes out the batters; in football, the defense keeps the other team from getting another set of downs, sacks the quarterback, or intercepts the ball; in hockey and futbol, and I imagine to a similar extent basketball, each team tries to get the puck/ball to score.  Hence, the back-and-forth quality of these three sports compared to baseball and football, where the former is more stationary and the latter consists of a series of stop-and-go’s.

In addition to the technique and skills required to put the ball in the hoop, though, does a player have to execute these plays with ostensibly intentional rhythmic and complex footwork?  Is the footwork a byproduct of trying to get the ball close enough to the hoop to dunk?  The more I watch a variety of basketball plays, the more I see artistry in the physics of that choreography no matter how (co)incidental.

Basketball game-play impresses me as being more unpredictable than football.  The gridiron is a much larger stage and the fluidity of certain plays contributes to the notion that every outcome is planned.  It seems that basketball invites and involves more improvisation down the court.

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Off Topic: Today’s Verse 90

I decided that I would write a poem every day for a year starting on my birthday, which was a week before the Super Bowl.  I have written a poem every day so far on my creative writing tumblr, including one that was inspired by the outcome of the game:

And if it wasn’t planned

PED #9 2017

It’s how you planned it, wasn’t it?
You gave me five miles ahead
you somehow couldn’t keep up
But then when it mattered for the both of us
You sprinted forward like a young prince
chased by vixens and stable boys.

And then you overtook me,
left me in the dust
and I wondered if my success wasn’t deliberate
or you just got very lucky when I fell.

– yiqi 6 february 2017 7:47 am

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