"We were stunned, of course, all of us. The coach stood there with the wire in his hand. And then he spoke. 'Gorm was just an ordinary guy,' he said. 'He put his pants on one leg at a time, like anybody else, and now he's gone to play for the Big Coach up yonder. There's nothing we can do to show our respects—except go out and bring back this game for Gorm.' Well, we charged out onto the field like men possessed. Somebody had dropped a megaphone on-the sidelines and Little Joe Bodkin kicked it halfway out of the stadium. We lined up for signal drill, and on the first play Big Jim Woolf ran into a goal post and broke his collarbone. We were a team dedicated to a single purpose: bring back the game for Gorm. Well"—Sevensen shrugged—"sometimes it's in the cards, sometimes not."
"Well," said Harry Coldstone, "which was it?"
"At the half we were leading them 13 to 7," said Sevensen, "and in the locker room the manager had chalked up signs—GORM IS WITH YOU IN SPIRIT—MARCH, MARCH ON DOWN THE FIELD WITH GORM—they were written on the walls and on the floor—GORM IS WATCHING EVERY PLAY-REMEMBER GORM—as if we were likely to forget. Sad Sam Wasserman had already been taken to the hospital with a wrenched pelvis. Wild Bill Calhoun had one eye closed and several cracked ribs. Rusty Neyle had lost several teeth, and I had a dislocated thumb as well as a badly bruised thigh. But there was no thought of quitting. The coach moved among us with bandages and splints, like an angel of mercy, but he said little. 'There's nothing more I can do,' he told us. 'It's up to you fellows—you and Gorm.' "
"Good man," Stertzbaugh remarked.
"Yes," said Sevensen. "We went out for the second half, and somehow we held them. Battered and bleeding, we fought for every inch and drove down toward their goal. It was near the end of the third quarter and I was over by the bench, having just carried one of the players off the field. Only a handful of substitutes were left, and the coach was pacing in front of them. His voice was almost gone but he was far from licked. 'They may have a bigger squad,' he was saying, 'they may have a stronger team, but don't forget, we have Gorm on our side.' 'Then why don't you send him in?' said a calm, clear voice, and there he stood—"
"There who stood?" Harry asked.
"There stood Gorm, in his football togs, smiling like a Greek god in the sunlight. He had smashed his car, but escaped unhurt. The telegram had been in error, but there was no time for explanations."
"On with the game," Stertzbaugh said.
"We had the ball, first down, on their five-yard line. Naturally they expected a line plunge, but we happened to have a play for just such an occasion. The ball came back to Gorm—he swept to his right, stopped suddenly and shot a pass over the line. It led Pistol Pete Minetti just right and Pete was our ace receiver. But he was favoring a cracked ankle and the Irish linebackers were alert—one of them scored on the play."
"The breaks of the game," said Harry Coldstone.