I guessed he was
fooling around, but the Detroit coaches were full of pranks, and it would be
just like them to do such a thing.
Aldo," I whispered shrilly into the phone, "you can't do that. The
commissioner'll have a fit if he has to read off my name. He'll start
suspending people and slapping fines around."
him," said Forte. "You've hung around long enough to know how we do
things out here. You learned five plays when you were training with us. That
puts you ahead of someone else we might pick."
Aldo..." I said.
thing," Forte said, "is that we don't lose you to the Kansas City
Chiefs or the Oilers, those guys in the other league." He hung up the
I sat there for
10 minutes, waiting. Drafted, I thought. What a great gesture, the epitome of
the superfan's dream—his allegiance recognized by being picked in the draft,
even if it was the last round.
It was a prank.
When the time came they picked someone else. Their last choice was George
Wilson Jr., the head coach's son, a tall young quarterback from Xavier, a
natural, they all said of him.
I suppose I was
relieved that I didn't have to face down Commissioner Rozelle with a slip of
paper with my own name on it. But not really. I was put out somewhat. What a
shame they had to think of George Wilson Jr. Why him? They had some perfectly
decent quarterbacks. Rank nepotism! Walking home in the bright sunlight that
Sunday afternoon, I found myself kicking sulkily at the pavement. And then in
the pangs of absurd self-pity it occurred to me—with a groan of dismay—that as
a superfan I was still as hooked as I ever was; while there might be a brief
respite from time to time—a week or two during the off season, perhaps in the
early dog days of August—the disease had me thoroughly in its throes.