Benchman reality: Give the world any face it chooses to look at, but keep your feet dry and hold on to as many blankets as you can.
To be a true benchman requires discipline. For example, a benchman must always appear ready, despite the fact he hasn't played since the geese went south, despite the fact that he no longer wants to play. Occasionally—and this is very delicate—he must throw off his jacket and run toward the field if the coach requires a replacement for the kickoff squad. If the benchman does it with the proper amount of delay and stumbling, a tactic that Hoboken mastered over the course of four seasons, the coach will grab him and send him back to the bench. But only after the benchman makes his point: he's tuned in, he's willing.
"Plus you get to grab some water on the way back to the bench," Hoboken noted. "Hell, my ankles aren't even taped. I'm not wearing thigh pads. Too uncomfortable."
A benchman is also constantly reminded of the fleeting nature of sports. He has only to look at his own career to see how quickly the mighty fall. At the end of the last game of the season, Hoboken put it in the proper perspective: "You think anyone except a couple of the diehards will remember who won this game three years from now? How about a month? You think the alumni won't have a cocktail hour, win, lose or draw? Why should I care? If this is really a team, we'd all get to play, wouldn't we? What am I, the mascot? Statistics? Records? Don't make me laugh. I just spent four years playing a game I never got to play. How crazy is that?"
Hoboken walked off the field. He raised his hands and waved to the crowd. Rumor has it that he's in sales now. For that matter, so is the quarterback who started that day.