Tuesday, July 17, 2007

It Couldn't Have Happened to a Better Man

To Whom It May Concern--

I remember back in April me, Steve and Morgan were at this thing talking. I turned to Steve and said “Ashley Banks or Lisa Turtle.” He rubbed his chin a second before he answered. I remember thinking his turquoise Lacoste polo was crisp but I couldn’t say anything because shit like that doesn’t exactly jive with the fact that I haven’t fumbled in 38 years. I’m the Bogart of this bitch; I got a rep to keep.

Morgan took the moment of silence to interject: “QUIT PLAYIN – YOU KNOW YOU’D GIVE IT TO THAT ANGELIQUE CHICK FROM THE DETROIT NEWS”, and when we just sat staring at him lifeless yet simultaneously wondering whether we actually would, he continued: “….BUT MAYBE IT’S JUST THE BACARDI TALKING. I SHOULDN’T HAVE POURED OUT THAT LAST SHOT FOR KELLY BARAKA.”

Then Zoltan Mesko taps me on the shoulder because he wanted to know if Crable's first name was with an EA or an AW. He had some photos he wanted to tag him in on Facebook. And I started to wonder how I got here.

I remember when me and Steve saw this pic of Leinart rolling up in a Maserati and Kristin Cavallari stumbling out of the passenger side in a jean skirt . Matt was wearing sunglasses and he looked like he was chewing gum. She looked a little bowlegged and had a twinkle in her eye. She was probably on the way upstairs to text Hayden Panettiere about it or change her MySpace layout or some shit. But I remember Steve sitting there, and he looks at me and he says “I woulda opened the door up for her”. I told him I knew he would. I patted him on the back and he sighed a little bit. We play for Michigan, we can lick a motherfucking wound or two.

There was this one time I was in a foul mood and Chad started getting on my nerves. This lil' number from sigma kappa wasn’t returning my calls, some sharpshooter spilled ketchup on my Reeboks, and I remember they were all out of the Little Debbie’s honey buns because I ended up having to get the Hostess ones with all that white frosting that falls off in little pieces instead. I think I just gave em to Terrance.

It was sophomore year and Chad was kinda fucking up a lot those days. When things got real bad he used to bite on his knuckle like Sonny did when he found out Carlo was beating on Connie and then he’d walk over to the bench and sit by himself. It made my heart ache. See Chad’s always been a strong dude. This wasn’t like him.

But I had my own shit to handle. We were losing to fucking Minnesota; my ankles were worthless. I was on Amazon peeping “Getting Your Life Back: The Complete Guide to Recovery from Depression” with the Look Inside feature because I was too embarrassed to buy the whole thing. One thing led to another, I called Chad a poor man’s Steve Beuerlein, he called me Braylon’s sidekick and said Mel Kiper never heard of me (I whispered to myself 'neither did Tom Lemming,' but who’s keeping track?).

A couple days later we went to Ben and Jerry’s on State Street and laughed about it. He treated; I picked up the edge rusher on third and long. We'll call it even.

I remembered the day Bo died. There was this secretary in the academic office standing behind her desk and her eyes were looking pretty raw. They were like a combination of my mom’s when she told me her and my dad were getting a divorce and Carson Butler’s the time he smoked that third blunt one night last October. I asked her if she was ok and she told me she was fine. I saw her holding a crumpled tissue in her fist and I knew that she wasn’t. I just nodded and tried to smile. She looked up at me for a couple seconds then told me she had to go make copies of something and walked away. I carried the ball 280 times when I was 18 years old and it took less out of me than that.

See they like to tell you what happened to Bo toughens the soul. That it’s gonna be like the end of fucking Braveheart when they threw William Wallace’s sword into the field and suddenly everyone learns how to do some real legendary shit. I wish I could tell you Coach has some new sense of motivation, that he’s in the gym every day jogging three miles on treadmill with Journey on his iPod just trying to handle business so he can retire a champion. But no one ever considers that maybe it ruins the man for good. Like there's no real revival, you just wake up every morning after that with a hole in your heart. I think when Bo died a little piece of Coach died too.

For the rest of his life he'll be trying to survive without it. The next day we lost to Ohio State.

In Pasadena me, Steve and Morgan ate at this place Roscoe’s Chicken-n-Waffles. We were talking to the waitress about this and that and she brings her nephew over. He was excited to see us. She must have told him we were famous, and at the time, I guess we were. A couple of gunslingers who didn’t think USC was all that yet. I think about when we were on top. I think about how the past always seems to be nothing but good shit we took for granted.