"You know, it reminds me of an old hillbilly song that went, 'Where have all our heroes gone....'
"But what the heck."
Coach Snavely almost ordered a time-out to stop the play before it started. The Duke defense had overshifted to thwart the power sweep off a single-wing right. It was early in the third quarter and there was no score. The ball was on Duke's 43-yard line, good field position, no place for a big loss.
Charlie was crouched in the Snavely stance, forearms resting on thighs, hands open to receive the ball. He could see that the play might not work. He would simply do what he could. The center snap from Joe Neikirk went directly to him. No fullback spinner on this play. Charlie started around right end, but there were Duke players everywhere. Without losing stride he veered off in the opposite direction, scampering along the line of scrimmage. Again no running room. He reversed his field once again, was tripped by an outstretched hand and stumbled. For 10 yards or more he fought to regain his balance. Then he was all right, his legs were under him and he was dodging and twisting again, leaving infuriated tacklers lying on the Kenan Stadium turf.
He cut back to his left, faking out one last defender with a hip wiggle and a shake of the head. Now he was running downfield with only a teammate, his fraternity brother, Chan Highsmith, for company. "Glad it's you," Charlie said to Highsmith as he crossed the goal line. A fan in the temporary end-zone seats was so excited by this amazing run that he fell forward onto the field. The crowd was alive, roaring, slapping each other. Coach Snavely, normally an impassive man, rushed from the bench to grab Charlie by both shoulders and shake him. "Great!" he kept shouting. "Great!" Charlie could hear only the cheers—" Choo Choo! Choo Choo!" He knew then that for him they would never really stop.
And in the recesses of his mind, where the child, ever running, ever dodging, lives, they have not stopped. They never will.