A couple of years
later Little Vic was on the varsity at New Hope High in Columbus, and he was
playing a good game. The referee was old Billbo Mitchell—Can you still smell
me, Bull?—and when he kept hearing the name Sullivan on the P.A. for making
tackles, he came over and peered closely at the rangy boy. Little Vic thought
maybe he was being assessed a penalty for something or other, but he couldn't
figure out why. Finally, Billbo said, "You wouldn't be any kin of the late
Bull Sullivan, would you?"
"He was my
daddy," Vic said.
And then, right
there, right in the middle of a game he was refereeing impartially, Billbo put
the ball down and stuck out his hand and made Little Vic shake it. "I loved
that man," he said.
Coach Poole had been sitting with Bull Cyclone in Bull's office in Scooba. Bull
Cyclone put aside his index cards, pulled out a piece of paper and started
doodling. Before long, Poole could tell he was drawing football jerseys,
because he could see their general form and the big numbers. Of course, he
didn't say anything. He just watched.
Then Bull Cyclone
started on about the war and about the time he was with five soldiers with whom
he had grown close. But when the island was secure, Bull Cyclone was the only
one of them who came home. "There must be a reason," he said.
searching for a way to honor them," he said, and then he doodled some more.
He passed the drawing to Poole. "There, Corch," he said. It was a rough
draft of the star jersey, with the five stars across the breast for the five
boys who didn't get out in '45.
would live another 25 years, changing the autumns and the lives of Scooba
football players he didn't run off in the summers.