For Super Bowl Sunday: Away Game

50 yard line of a football field at night, image for the short story Away Game by Rico Lamoureux of The Flash Fiction Ponder.

by

Rico Lamoureux

 

All Rights Reserved.

 

Some of the parents have come out to hug us goodbye, to wish us well as we set out for our adversary’s homeland, our battle gear already packed up tight on the bus.

On down Main Street we head out, a few fists raised, horns honked, the townsfolk way of saying ‘Give ‘em hell!’

As I take the last few swallows of my hillbilly piss water aka Mountain Dew we hit the highway and I can’t help but look back, thinking about our last lesson in Mr. Randolph’s class and how ‘our boys’ must have felt when going off to war. Sure, we’d be back by late night, battered and bruised but still alive, but who’s to say we weren’t making history? If not for the school, at least for ourselves.

Funny how doing nothing can tire you out, hoping this wouldn’t affect us too much as I  stare out the window and let my mind wonder over the hypnotic lines on the pavement whizzing by. After all, we had to put in a half day at school, then travel for a few hours on top of that.

When we finally reach enemy territory we’re like scorned minorities, the locals welcoming us with hard stares and a few middle fingers. Then we roll on in to the back of their campus, getting our first look at the battlefield as the sun sets over it as we make our way to the visitor side of the locker room building.

It’s bare, cold, unwelcoming, not even one single motivational poster up on the prison-like walls. But that’s ok, we didn’t come to this foreign soil for hospitality. Our training, our determination, our strategy will outweigh their home-field advantage.

Or at least we hope.

We suit up, our away jerseys a further reminder that we’re not in Kansas anymore.

After a few words of wisdom by coach we hype each other up, line up, and begin our march, our team manager leading us into darkness, unfamiliar territory, behind a empty shell of bleachers representing our side, the roar of the crowd obviously coming from across the field.

Then finally, familiar faces, pretty faces, our home cheerleaders having made a path for us to run down, and even a paper banner to run through. Always there when we need ‘em. I’m sure some of us are gonna marry some of ‘em someday.

Some teams start their drills right away, not only not observing but straight up ignoring when the opposing team takes the field, but coach has taught us that respecting an adversary is a sign of an enlightened warrior, so we put aside our fighting spirit and stand at attention long enough for them to run out to the cheers and their theme song.

Now it’s time to put a little fear in ‘em, hitting the grass to not only warm up, but also display some of our skills, some of what they’re gonna have to face once that kickoff sails through the air. But before I’m ready for the opposition to size me up I kneel down and place a peaceful palm against their turf. I might have come to clash with those I don’t know, but I want this earth, this soil to know that I respect it. That I ask to share in energy with it as I breathe upon it, sweat upon it, give it my all.

One last show of unification before the battle begins. We may be adversaries for the next couple of hours, but we are still fellow Americans, taking pride in taking part in our National Anthem.

With the flip of a coin our side learns that we’ll be the first to run that pigskin down the field, our game faces fierce with focus as we set out to bring home a victory, undeterred by the adverse energy being showered down upon us.

We are here to do our hometown proud.

We are here to win.

~

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