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The train passed and the ball was still whole on the other side. "Saved," I said to Bowman. I was actually relieved. Bowman just smiled and began moving away to get a better angle on his backfield. He moved with a limp.
"What happened to your leg?"
"Which one? I hurt one knee when I was at Oklahoma trying to play offensive tackle at 200 pounds for Bud Wilkinson. The reason I'm limping now is I got knocked down at Albion last year and ruined the other. We may not look it, but we hit pretty hard in this league."
I asked him if it bothered him much, the transition from Oklahoma to Wabash. He often referred to "the Big Time," how this or that player was "almost good enough for the Big Time," or, "you never see this in the Big Time."
If Bowman weren't an Indian you would think he was a cowboy—lanky and broad-shouldered, with a deep-lined face and a quick, pleasant smile that stretches like a clothesline.
"I loved Oklahoma," he said, "but I think I loved Bud more. I think in that atmosphere you are more part of the team than you are a part of the school. I've been back only once in 10 years.
"I tell my players, 'You can't eat a football. You can bake it, broil it and stew it, maybe, but you can't eat it. You better get that schooling first.' These boys do." He gestured at the practicing players. "You should see the books they take on trips. Far-out stuff, like Aristotle. They're always underlining."
A boy in street clothes had been standing next to him, waiting to speak.
"You're late, Tommy," Bowman said.
"Had a physics lab, Coach. And I was up to six a.m. on a term paper."