"Just think," Pagna says. "When Terry came to me, he was all knuckles."
Presently the drills are over, and the offensive and defensive squads thunder to the middle of the field, still clattering, whooping, laughing. Suddenly the defense gathers around John Ray and begins an ancient football chant.
"Two bits, four bits, six bits, a dollar," they yell, and you think instantly, hold it, John, it's corny, it's—
"All for the offense, stand up and holler."
Silence. Hilarious silence.
Now the offense begins to appreciate the joke, as laughter all around intrudes, and Ray walks away to bum a cigarette, leaving the squad to Ara Parseghian.
No one can hear what Ara says at first. It has something to do with why Notre Dame wins, you assume. But his voice is rising. You can hear him now. Louder. Still louder. Yeeek, he's shouting. "Are they gonna score on us?" he explodes. "Are they gonna do to us what they did last year?" Even louder. Rockne. Leahy. "Are we gonna score on them? Are we? Are we gonna beat 'em? Are we gonna beat the hell out of 'em?"
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, and Ara strolls calmly away, eating a mint, another day's work done.
"Hey," says the coach, smiling, reaching out to shake hands. "Boy, we got bad luck for sure with you here. I saw you a while ago, standing over there on the other side of the field so you'd have to look into the sun. That's how smart writers are." He grins at John Ray.
"Well, they're all here, or coming," says Ara. "In midseason, just like '64. Newspapers, magazines, television, radio—the whole works." He looks away, momentarily wistful. "It's great to get publicity and all that, but I wish, like every other coach, that it could all come after the season, when these young kids have done it—if they do it."