The boy's face
strained and tensed, his teeth grated and his eyes closed as he bore down, and
a little sweat appeared on his face. The toes did not move.
"Can you feel
this?" The trainer jabbed a scissors' tip into his foot.
"What did you
say?" the boy asked.
The trainer looked
up, as if appealing to me. "Oh...nothing," he told the boy.
And all the people
bustled around the boy. "Am I going to be all right?" he said again.
"I can't feel my legs."
The doctor said
they were taking him to the hospital, that one of the best neurosurgeons in the
country, from Brown University, would see him, as if the boy should feel
honored, as if the fact that the neurosurgeon taught at Brown University made
him omniscient and omnipotent.
Our offensive team
was on the field running through plays. The defense was doing calisthenics. It
was not cold for the season, but it was November, and they had to stay warm or
risk muscle pulls. I looked at the boy's face, at the wonderment in it, and
felt sick. Sick of football. It couldn't be worth it. His eyes were open wide,
as if absorbing this world never seen before. They started cutting off his
equipment and he closed his eyes briefly, then reopened them.
"Am I going to
be all right?" he asked the doctor one last time.
doctor answered him, "you're going to be fine."
Although he was
already lying on the ground he seemed to lean back then, or sort of settle. I
stood off to the side with our head coach, watching knives slash through pads.
We had loaned our opponents some equipment before the game; their managers had
made a mistake in packing. "With our luck," somebody said, "those
are our pads they're cutting through."