It started once again deep in his spine when he felt the withering eyes upon him and some instinct of fear took over and he winced, primordially trying to pull his head inside his body like the turtles sunning themselves on brown rocks in the brown waters of the Brazos when danger was nearby. The Coach was looking at him again and he knew it was his turn.
"Why so many drops?" asked The Reporter.
"So many drops."
And The Coach's face grew a mask of sternness and there was an edge of menace in his voice. "We're working on it."
Out again into the crisp atmosphere of the dome with the artificial climate pumped in by the humming machinery and then the fifteen or twenty men were lined up and they were catching spheres. Catching. Hands closing firmly upon each orb at the instant it made contact with their fingertips and again. "AGAIN!" And again, they catch and catch and catch. And then they run, and then catch.
"How did it go today?" asked The Reporter.
A cold, blank stare smoldering in the air made The Reporter cringe and it lingered even as The Coach left the room, long after he had wound his way through the corridors of power up to his office where seated comfortably upon his chair he stares out the window at the tiny antlike figures far below and then only then does the smile slowly crease across his careworn face because they are out there still on their own accord catching the orbs.
thwack. mmph. get it.
Get it. Saturday comes and brings with it those other men who have flown across two states to pay an evening visit; men who in their own way will try to pull a different orb or sphere out of the humming night sky. They will try.
"Yeah, we think they'll try." says The Coach to one of The Reporter's wandering questions. "But they won't do it."
And the stars fade slowly as the lights of the stadium come up, and the noise and the fire and the crowd's cacophony inspire the men in the dark jerseys to soar into the lights and to catch the orbs again and again and again until all of the times they didn't catch them are erased into the reaches of the night and we see them falling slowly, happily, across that thick white line on the grass and reaching the orbs across the bright orange prisms.
The pylon snaps right back with a purpose and the man in the white and black stripes raises his arms into the darkness.
GBH 2012: Ackbarlom, Ackbarlom!
RCR 2013: If I Forget Thee, College Station