- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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"They kicked off deep into our end zone, and Gorm called for the ball. Turkey Shutz moved out to block and his knee gave way. Gorm tripped over Turkey, the ball squirted out of his hands, and they scored again as the third quarter ended."
"I blame Turkey as much as anybody," Sterzbaugh remarked.
"Well, we were a pretty dispirited lot, with our stained and ragged uniforms, our scars and bruises, and Gorm moved through our midst like a person from another world.
" 'We can take 'em, gang,' he yelled. 'We've still got a quarter to play.' He ranged back and forth, slapping fellows on the back, pummeling their heads. 'What's the matter?' he demanded. 'You going to let those bums run all over us? Where's that old fight?' Little Joe Bodkin had one arm taped to his side. He stepped over to the water bucket, picked up the old iron dipper and hit Gorm between the eyes."
There was a short silence. "Lose the game, did you?" Stertzbaugh asked.
"Fifty-eight to thirteen—fifty-nine, something like that. Then of course we had to cancel the rest of our schedule. We didn't have any team left—only Gorm and three or four scrubs." Sevensen paused to relight his cigar. "Well, all this left the school feeling cheated somehow. By rights, Gorm should have been a hero, coming in at the last minute and saving the game, but it hadn't worked out that way and nobody knew what to make of it. Gorm wandered around the campus with a vacant smile on his face, trying to make the best of it, but the student body looked the other way. 'Why aren't you dead?' was what they seemed to have in mind. Of course, they didn't say it in so many words, most of them, but that's what they felt and Gorm could sense it. Finally it got to be too much for him, and one evening in March he packed his bags and left. He had determined to devote what remained of his life to helping others. With this in mind, he went to South America as a missionary."
Nobody spoke for a moment. "Well, that was very interesting," said Harry.
"It was about a year ago," Sevensen went on, "that I ran into Pistol Pete Minetti at the Explorers' Club. In South America he had run across Gorm's trail. It was a legend of the smiling, golden-haired god who had come to the land of the head-hunters and taught them the ways of the north. Even after his death they cherished his memory, and each year the two most savage tribes met for a game and the ceremonial head-hunters' football dance which followed. It wasn't football as we think of it, Pete said. The field was a half mile long with a stream in the middle of it, and the players kept all their weapons. Still, they did hold to some of the old traditions: they had a trophy and a water boy and goal posts and the like. So when it comes to adding up the score, it may be that Gorm's name will lead the rest. At least we know he died happy, teaching others the game he loved."
Sevensen got up and started putting on his coat. "Yes," he said, "Pete did some bartering with the natives before he left; he tried to bargain for the trophy, but they refused to trade. Pete had hoped to bring it back to Egyptian Normal as a memento, but then—perhaps it was better the other way. In death as in life, Pete said, Gorm had a smile on his face."