Power Plays: Politics, Football, and Other Blood Sports

By John M. Barry | Go to book overview

REGRETS

Iplayed football in high school and college, coached at four high schools, two as head coach, and two colleges as an assistant, but my own deepest regret from my years in football has nothing to do with losing, or with the game being over. It has to do with a game that one boy never really got a chance to begin.

Oh, I certainly suffered my share of painful losses, two in particular, one as a player, one as a coach, and both by a score of 20–19 in the last seconds. After each one I literally could not eat for several days. But now I think even of them with fondness, for they remind me of the intensity of the moment and players who did and still matter to me.

I remember lining up at what would now be called outside linebacker, us leading 19–13, trying to stop our arch-rival’s march down the field at the end of the game, watching them inexorably squeeze out three fourthdown plays by inches, us coming so close and yet failing to stop their progress toward the end zone. And I remember watching the killer extra point. But with even greater vividness I remember tackling a running back on the sideline and knocking down one of their cheerleaders and how when I helped her to her feet she seemed so astonishingly fragile and the day suddenly smelled like fall.

As a coach I remember our scoring on our last drive to take the lead, again by 19–13, missing the extra point but our sideline erupting in celebration anyway with only seconds left. And the other team on the last play threw a desperation pass that our safety—trying to intercept— knocked up into the air. I remember watching the ball, a few feet from where I stood on the sideline, float into their receiver’s hands while our safety both fell to the ground and tripped another defender, then watching

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Power Plays: Politics, Football, and Other Blood Sports
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Home 1
  • Flexible Blocking Patterns 3
  • Jimmy 11
  • Washington the Players 19
  • The Making of a Politician I 21
  • The Making of a Politican II 35
  • The Media 45
  • Game’s over 55
  • It’s All a Part of the Game 57
  • No More Play 65
  • Regrets 80
  • Washington Wright’s Play 83
  • The Floor 85
  • Peace 93
  • The Vote 99
  • Washington Gingrich’s Play 131
  • The outside Game 133
  • The Olympians 151
  • Renaldo Nehemiah 153
  • Linda Dragan 158
  • Michael Storm 163
  • Mark Cameron 168
  • Postscript 175
  • The Fall 177
  • The Trial 179
  • Epilogue 203
  • Index 211
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