David Aho

Tyrone at the Football Bat

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crowded football stadium

Crowded football stadium photo. (Csaba Peterdi – Fotolia)

My friends always accuse me of knowing nothing about professional sports so they all gawked at me as if I’d just done a backflip at the bar when I declared, “I watched a great game on TV last night.”

“Give that man a beer on me,” Dave piped up.  “I never thought I’d ever hear you talking about watching sports, especially on TV.”

“Yeah.  The Detroit Packers and the Green Bay Bears were deadlocked with 30 seconds showing on the clock in the bottom of the ninth.”

A collective groan rolled down the bar.  “I’m outta here,” Mike said, and drained his glass.

“It was going to be the final play of the day and the Bears called on their star fullback, Tyrone Shoos, to hit a touchdown.   The Packers were ahead, eight to eight, as the Bears’ pitcher brought the ball into the penalty box.”

“I’m leaving too,” Gary threatened.  I had to buy a round to keep my audience.

“As Tyrone approached the dugout with his football bat, a tense hush fell upon the standing room only crowd at Fenway Park.  The pitcher passed a foul ball and the referee called an offside penalty for strike number one.  Lordy!  The tension!  I dearly hoped ol’ six-million-dollar-a-year Tyrone would smack one right over the center field goal post for a grand-slam field goal and a Green Bay victory.  Green Bay is such a small town compared to the rest of the teams.  I’d love to see them go all the way to the World Series or at least the Cotton Bowl.”

“That does it.  I’m outta here,” Earl declared, and left.

“The next pass came on like a bullet and Tyrone was hit from behind for a halfback sack.  I nearly swooned from disappointment until I realized that the ref had blown his whistle and called double dribbling against Detroit.  The Bears still had a chance!”

Tim said, “I know most people think you’re a pain in the neck but I have a much lower opinion of you.”

“The tension hung like a fog as Tyrone took his potential game-winning stance.  The next pass came low and was ruled incomplete for ball one.  Now the count stood at four strikes, one ball and two grand larcenies.  The next pass would decide whether Tyronne would steal home or drive for the offside baseline.  Are you catching all this technical phraseology?”

“I caught it, and I’m throwing it back,” Terry moaned.

“Finally, the pitcher made his move: a bunt!  It took everybody by surprise.  Everybody except Tyrone, that is, who smacked it over the blue line and into the Twilight Zone.  The crowd roared as he hurtled toward third base on his way to the goal post as Detroit fumbled the interception.  They double-dribbled the slap shot and nearly traveled as they struggled to return the home run.  Meanwhile, Tyrone had stolen second base and the defenseman’s wallet.  He was raised in the inner city, you know.”

Steve moaned, “I think I’m going to be sick…”

“But, lo and behold, the Bears’ tight end had made an outfield interception for an automatic walk, which meant Tyrone got to shoot three free throws.”

“Now I know what your wife saw in you that no one else did – that you’re nuts,” Tim interjected.

“The deafening roar of the crowd had lulled to a tension-filled hush as Tyrone prepared to hit the free throws.  The first one was high and inside but he managed to chip it onto the fairway.”

“Bartender!  Cut him off will ya?”

“The second came right down the old blue line, but Tyrone was called for offside.  Now the stage was set for the final free throw.  It came barreling down the pike with the speed and accuracy of a January fly.  Tyrone spit a stream of tobacco juice and steadied himself, the expensive muscles in his back bulging like steel cables.  The crowd was on its feet roaring their encouragement.  Tyrone’s teammates prayed collectively in a sing-song chant to the god of jocks for a chance at the playoffs.  Tyrone could bring his team to the Toilet Bowl if he could only hit this hole in one.  S’cuse me, I have to go to the bathroom.”

“Wait a minute!  What happened?”

“I guess I drank more beer than my bladder could hold…”

“No, no!  With Tyrone and that ridiculous game of yours.”

“Tyrone’s contract expired right before the clock ran out and he retired to the locker room to renegotiate.  He was a free agent, you know…  Hey!  Put me down, you guys.  Bartender!”

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