On Wisconsin's second drive, Jerry and a teammate tackle running back P.J. Hill for a one-yard loss. It is Jerry's only recorded statistic of the game, one of just nine tackles he'll have all year, but it must feel wonderful after the disappointment of his redshirt season. Illinois takes a 17--0 lead in the second quarter and holds on to win 31--26. The band plays something festive. The temperature reaches 91°, but the fans stay in the bleachers, savoring the moment. Jerry and five or 10 teammates go up to celebrate with them. Half the crowd yells, I-L-L! The other half responds, I-N-I! Back and forth. I-L-L! I-N-I! Jerry lets it wash over him. On a joyful impulse, he takes off a thick gray lineman's glove and hurls it into the crowd.
Stacey leaves St. Louis for the outskirts of Champaign so she can live with and cook for her son, who is still dissatisfied with the food at the university. Jerry shares a four-bedroom apartment with three football teammates; he gives his room to his mother and sleeps on the couch. In return he gets homemade spaghetti, hot wings, chili, broccoli, mashed potatoes, rolls and smoked turkey legs. The four players eat like kings. On future Sundays, Josh Brent will come over and fill his plate.
December 28, 2007
Jim Leyritz, the catcher known for the home run that helped the Yankees win the 1996 World Series, goes out drinking in Florida to celebrate his 44th birthday. At an intersection in Fort Lauderdale, his Ford Expedition collides with a Mitsubishi Montero driven by 30-year-old bartender Fredia Ann Veitch, who is killed in the crash. Leyritz will be acquitted of DUI manslaughter—partly because of conflicting evidence about which driver ran the red light—but convicted of DUI. He will reach a settlement worth about $350,000 with Veitch's family.
Stacey moves to her own place in Champaign. Pay your rent, Jerry, she reminds him.
O.K., Mama, he says.
Mama, Jerry says on the phone, can you come help me move my stuff? 'Cause I got put out.