"Size," he said. "They keep talking about my size. Well, I'm used to that. If I don't make it it won't be because of my size. This is a chance that comes along just once, and I didn't think it would come for me. I won't be careless and let it slip away. I've worked, and I'll work harder. So far it has been fine. The moves are coming back. The long layoff hasn't helped, but it could have been worse."
Bellino drove back to his room at the Andover Inn, read his mail (one well-wisher writing from an insane asylum said it was nice to have Joe back) and then lay across the bed, staring at the ceiling and thinking it all over "I feel I've done the right thing," he said. "I know I wouldn't change the past 10 years. People said I was foolish to go to the academy, with the chance I had to make a lot of money in professional football or baseball [he was a catcher]. A major league baseball club offered me $75,000 when I was having trouble with my studies at Annapolis. I was about to resign. My father told me, 'Joe, I've got five sons and a daughter, and I could not afford to put them through college. I want you to finish." My dad never had a lot of money. Seventy-five thousand was a lot. I figured if he didn't want it, all that money, I didn't want it."
Joe drove to Lowell for the game with Jim Marcellino, a defensive back from Holy Cross. Marcellino is also a rookie, but he is five years younger than Bellino.
"O.K., Little," said Marcellino, "watch the road signs. You don't want to get lost in your own state."
"Look who's calling who Little," said Bellino. "I could eat peas off your head. What are you, five-ten?"
"The guys started calling him Little right away, except for Red Dawson," said Marcellino. " Dawson calls him Swabbie. Say, Joe, how's your wife?"
"Fine, just fine. Saw her this morning. She's in the hospital, you know. In Boston."
"Anybody from Winchester coming to the game?"
"I hear they sold over a thousand tickets. Everybody's coming. Here, Jimmy, want a Rolaide?"
"No, I've got mints. You nervous, Joe? I'm nervous as hell."