Hegel, halfback, on the bench, says: “You have to take in the season as a whole to understand what motivates the other team right now.
“It all adds up to this very moment.”
Captain Kierkegaard, fists clasped and elbow on knees with his head hanging between, thinks: no one knows the loneliness of quarterbacks. The ref whistles. They rise and take their places on the line.
The captain’s tall, blond, of Danish blood, girls call him the Seducer. Sometimes, in concentration, he looks like the mast of a listing ship. Sometimes, on the edge of the field, running ahead of the pack in the floods’ sharp glare, thoughts besiege him of the ilk: do I do this for my joy or for the good of the team, their greater glory or my own alone? His Lutheran folks drag the family to mass every Sunday. His father, a townsman of good standing, owns a grain silo and a feed yard. The coach says, “You think too much. Maybe you should try baseball.”
From upside down between his legs Hegel whispers, “They score, we score, the game goes on. You’re surrounded by large men made larger by padding. The bleachers are chock full. Feel the weight of it all on this moment!”
Hegel snaps the ball. Surprise!
The quarterback breaks left.