it was the day of the big game.
the one everybody had been waiting for.
the tigers against the wildcats.
the tigers came out fighting. they had the wildcats back on their heels.
the tiger fans went wild. you could hear them in the next county.
the wildcat fans were stunned.
a few of the wildcat fans started chanting “defense, defense!”
but the game was not over.
the tigers were on the verge of blowing the game open. the wildcats needed somebody to step up and make a play.
and they got it! they got the stop! bud jones, the heart and soul of the wildcats, made the play!
the mood in the stadium seemed to shift. the tiger fans were not quite as loud.
alvin york, the lunch pail all around player for the wildcats, ran over pretty boy floyd, the prima donna superstar of the tigers, and scored!
it was a whole new ball game! the wildcat fans came to life!
and then it was half time.
both coaches called their teams out.
coach hoover of the tigers blasted his team for not showing some stones and putting the wildcats - the wildcats, their traditional rivals! away. didn’t they want to play? he particularly laid onto pretty boy floyd, and challenged him to play like a man and show some leadership in the second half!
coach purvis of the wildcats was almost as tough. sure, they got a few breaks and came back in the second quarter, but what were they doing in the first quarter? four quarters, ladies, you have to play for four quarters! play like you want to win and not just get the game over with! and play like you got something between your ears besides between your legs! nelson, that play you made at the end at the first quarter was the dumbest - the absolutely most godawfully dumbest i have seen in all my years of coaching!
back on the field. a north wind had sprung up, and a few drops of rain began to fall.
the fans on both sides had gotten warmed up and juiced up at halftime.
and it looked like both sides wanted to play!
the wildcats came out with fire in their eye!
the wildcats score! before the tigers had a chance to blink!
will the tigers lose heart and pack it in ?
or will they dig down and deep and start playing some tiger ball?
the tigers score on a once in a lifetime play by pretty boy floyd!
the tigers rally around pretty boy and now we have a ballgame!
back and forth it goes, neither team giving an inch!
the rain begins to fall and the wind begins to howl!
but nobody in the stands leaves their seats.
what a game!
with the game in the line, in the closing seconds, alvin york gets knocked out for the wildcats!
binky mcguire, a little used sub who has hardly played all year, goes in to replace him.
the tigers run a play for pretty boy, right at binky!
the noise in the stands rises to a crescendo! the wind howls!
you can guess what happens next!
game over! wildcats win!
a happy bunch of wildcats fans, eddie wilson, jerry smith, sal profumo, and buck headwind, head for the exit. buck has lubricated himself a little too freely and has to be helped to stay upright by his buddies.
safe and warm, and sitting in a booth at the point spread with beers and burgers and buffalo fries in front of them, they all agree that it was the greatest game they ever saw.
“the only problem,” says eddie, “ is we will never see another as good if we live to be a hundred, so they might as well go home and hang ourselves.”
“but we can die happy,” says jerry, and they all agree, even buck, who is beginning to feel a little better and grabs a buffalo fry.
the place is packed with wildcat and tiger fans. even the tiger fans agree it was the greatest game they ever saw.
outside, in the darkness, one man is not joining in the general euphoria.
al capone, who got a special favor from the big herb to put a bet down on the tigers at even money, though the book was tigers by two and a half, is doing what he always does after he loses a bet - blaming the refs and realizing the fix must have been in.
that call against clyde farmer of the wildcats with two minutes to go - that changed the whole game!
al could have paid off mike miller and had something to spare for a big dinner and a massage - but now his life might as well … might as well… might as well what?
at least it’s stopped raining. al doesn’t want to go inside the point spread and listen to a lot of idiot jabber from of punks who don’t remember the days when a man could put an honest bet on an honest game…. he heads to burger king for a cup of coffee.
later that night, bob mcnamara, the assistant offensive coordinator of the wildcats , arrives home after watching four hours of game film with the other coaches.
his wife is up, the tv is off, and she is playing solitaire at the dining room table.
“how did it go?” she asks him.
“did you win or lose?”
“that’s nice. do you want to play gin rummy?”
“no, i just want to go to bed.”
“want something to eat?”
“no, we had pizza when we were watching the film.”
“i hope you don’t get indigestion.”
“i got a plain pizza, nothing on it. and plain fries.””
“i just want to go to bed.”
“all right, good night.”