Except lately he had been wondering if most of his friends' reasoning had not come from the fact that if he played football, he would have to give up the apartment and move back in the dorm and they would no longer have a free ride. But what was hurting worst was to read the sports pages and get that old feeling again, that old game feeling. And there was the guilt. Rice was hurting and it looked like Houston was going to massacre them. He saw where Bill Latourette would be starting in his position, and he worried about that. Bill was a great guy and a good football player, but Hale did not think he had the speed or the football sense to handle that Houston run-pass Veer attack. But how could he go back out now after he had missed the two-a-days? The guys would resent him missing the real hard work. And the coaches probably would not let him come back anyway.
So he lay there and worried about going to the game. Most likely he would not even be able to buy a ticket. That would be ironic—that he could not even buy his way into the stadium. And then there was the danger he would see someone he knew. What would he say to them?
No, he should stay at home and listen to the game on the radio.
One of his friends came in just then. "Hey man," the friend said. "Big news. They got a new group down at the Cellar. Let's get some chicks and go down there tonight."
"No," Chris said.
"Why not, man?"
"I'm going to stay home and listen to the game on radio."
His friend looked incredulous. "Have you lost your reason, man? Listen, football is nothing but...."
"Shut your mouth," Chris Hale said.
Houston came out on the field after Rice. The two squads stole quick curious looks at each other. This close it was easy to see how much bigger the Houston players were. They were better-looking athletes, too; tall and rangy, with flashes of speed as the lines of receivers went out for passes. Rice was a 14-point underdog. With reason.