Academic journal article Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature

Memories of Paradise: A Short Play for Two Male Actors

Academic journal article Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature

Memories of Paradise: A Short Play for Two Male Actors

Article excerpt

Cast: Alex, 43, Head Football Coach, Royal High School

Mike, 43, Parent of a player on the team and Alex's former teammate

Play takes place in the football office at Royal High School. Exit door at rear of stage, flanked by several full-sized lockers. Above door, there are banners. On back wall, a display case with footballs and trophies. A television sits on a stand. Remote is on desk.

At rise, Alex Ferguson, head coach, sits behind his desk, a cell phone pressed to his upstage ear. Mike Lujac, the father of team quarterback Jason Lujac, sits in a chair arranged so both men are visible to the audience in three quarter profile. Alex wears a snap front warm up suit with Head Coach on the left breast; Mike a Tigers Football sweatshirt, shorts, and a ball cap.

Alex: Can I call you back? Someone just came in. Fifteen minutes or so. Okay, bye (Closes phone and places it in his warm up jacket pocket). Sorry, Mike. I shut it off so we won't be interrupted again. Now, as I was saying, I am not making a change at quarterback.

Mike: So you're telling me that, despite leading the team to consecutive, double-digit road victories, both over higher rated opponents, Jason will not start against Stokes Valley?

Alex: What I am telling you is a kid does not lose his position to injury. That's the same protocol that existed when we played. Remember, Damian was five and one as a starter, and the damn defense cost us the Lincoln game. He starts, but if he falters, or if he re-aggravates his groin, Jason will come in.

Mike: Protocol? Hogwash is what it is. That's the same thing Coach Williams did in '85 when Kevin Bryant got hurt and it cost us going to states. If he'd have stuck with you, sophomore or not, we'd each have two rings, and you know that as well as anyone. You don't need to do everything Coach did. I loved him like a father, but he was neither God nor Darrell Royal.

Alex: For Christ sakes, Mike, every year at the kickoff banquet you all but lick his memory's ass, and now you're ripping him? You know if you weren't an old friend, I wouldn't even be talking to you because another one of coach's principles I believe in is the one says you don't talk to parents about their kid's playing time. I only agreed to see you because we go back a long time, and because you've been a good supporter of the program.

Mike: And supporting the program is what I am trying to do here. I loved Coach, and I will never run him down, but he was from another time. I mean, think about this. Would you deny a kid water if he couldn't run a lap in full pads in under a minute ten the way Coach did? Think about that bubble-butt Boyd boy you got on the team. I've watched practice enough times to know that tub of lard couldn't rumble round the field once in two minutes.

Alex: And he doesn't play regular neither now, does he, Mike?

Mike: But the point is you let him water up no matter how sorry-ass slow he runs his laps. All I'm saying is you're just picking and choosing your principles to fit your agenda. Coach would not have let his fat ass on the field in the first place no less let him water up without showing some effort.

Alex: Some things are different nowadays. We know now how dangerous dehydration is to a kid's health. Not letting him water up could kill him and it's illegal. Giving a lazy kid the opportunity to hydrate properly is not the same as abandoning sound principle. Hell, I have a five-page protocol regarding any head injury that I have to follow no matter how minor it is. Remember junior year when you got dinged against Hibbard? They carried you off on a stretcher and the next week you were back in at safety and wide receiver because the doc cleared you to play. In this day and age that would never happen. And in case you've forgotten, all Lenny Helms did in your place was make two picks and catch three TD passes. If a kid ever earned a starting job according to your logic, it was Lenny. …

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