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Slow Down, Boses: a Faulknerian Football Tale


In the state of Alabama again, the composite rubber orb fluttering from his fingertips into the waiting arms of the blue-clad opponent as he tracks him with disbelief in his eyes from across the field, the desperate spectators hesitantly crescendoing into a swelling roar until there is pandemonium for the blue-clad man has scored, and he does not usually score. Bo bows his head. The grass looks harsh under the glaring lights but he knows first-hand that it is actually quite soft and soothing. Closing his eyes he takes a deep

Breath. Breathing. The people in the molded plastic chairs in the front row could see him breathing but he smiled and tried to not breathe but he was still breathing with the low hum of the lights and electric devices and the sea of faces and


Bo, over here Bo

and there was a question about that other school the A&M one with all the receivers and he knew the answer he should give but he knew the one in his mind he wanted to give instead and so he gave the wrong one.

The millisecond pause and the nearly inaudible gasps. Better? was the question raised by so many upraised brows and surprised glances exchanged and he slowly, deliberately brushes an intentionally disheveled lock behind his ear and he justifies the statement and there are a hundred fingers tapping on tiny keyboards to spread the word through the ether and it is too late to take it back, too late for good so he gives his justification and knows it's wrong. But too late.

Days later again in the state of Alabama the first time and the wondering. There is a ball and there is grass and there is him throwing the ball to the same men who made him say these things a few days earlier but it is different. What is different. What is the same. The eleven giant men in red jerseys and helmets are different from the eleven men he is accustomed to so that must be it or is it even real and suddenly his head is spinning, blue helmet catching the glare of the hundreds of halogen lamps and the dull roar of the crowd and the just-dewy grass as he is slung bodily and he's spinning and

And next. The men in a slightly darker hue (called maroon) that broke his will and defied him in the waning moments a year ago in his own comfortable confines revisit again in a freak of bureaucratic logistics they stole a game he'd won right from him and a man wearing the #4 jersey stomped the life from his dreams and then made a shark motion with his hand to his head and he turned away.

Hurd, he thought. Hurd. I think that was his name and I hate him.

The Ole Miss Rebuttal