Chilling at the Game

Football

It’s a brisk day. I step into the November sunshine, knowing quarterback Patrick Witt will tear the Crimson defense to shreds. Fall is upon us, but the light is cheerful and two layers should be plenty. I’ll find my suite soon enough, and our hatred for Harvard will outweigh our apathy for football.

It’s a windy day. I shiver in my seat when a gust hits, but soon forget the temperature as I thrill to our first touchdown. My suite is missing for now; in the meantime, I sit with Virgil Blanc of France for a paraphrased conversation.

“How are you, Virgil?”

“I am well. Trying to understand this game. I’ve never seen American football.”

“Oh! I totally know how this works. See the blue guys? That’s Yale.”

“… So I gathered.”

“Anyway, we’re kicking off, which means they have to catch it on that end and try to run with it. We can run almost as fast as the kick, so they won’t get far.”

“Really? That guy made it halfway up the field.”

“That’s not supposed to happen.”

(One hour later)

“Most football games have scoring on both sides, actually.”

“You don’t say.”

“Halftime! Good! Let’s get our momentum back!”

“We had momentum?”

At the half: At least our marching band is better. Well, more fun. Like our school. Bastards.

(45 minutes later)

“See that? They’re not even in our end zone. Yet.”

“I think I’ve had enough football.”

“For today?”

“Forever.”

It’s a chilly day. Atmospheric pressure differentials force the air through me like a dagger. Or a rapier, or maybe a halberd. Something sharp. I check my phone. Suitemate: “We found this great restaurant for lunch, Aaron! Oh, and we’re not coming back to the stadium.” I see a friend in the Silliman Salamander Suit, which has a name so fun to say it almost makes up for OH GOD THE COLD. His tail is drooping, like the rest of him. From fifty yards out, Harvard’s guys don’t look any bigger, or stronger, or faster. Football is a misleading game.

It’s a frosty day. I walk back to campus alongside my froco as the blood from my extremities flees for the nourishing warmth of my internal organs. He asks how my year is progressing. I answer in short bursts, lest my saliva freeze in my mouth. For minutes at a time, I can’t remember why I chose Yale over Washington University in St. Louis. I wonder if it was all a dream; if at any moment I’m going to wake up and find myself marching in circles around a Siberian gulag. Maybe I’ll remember enough about my hallucinatory 21st century life to write some kickass late-Soviet science fiction, and they’ll study it at that lovely American university … what was it called?

Yale. We’re suddenly on Cross Campus, and I realize food should be somewhere nearby. I may or may not have eaten at the tailgate, but if I did, my body long since burned the calories for heat. The little non-Gourmet-Heaven convenience store behind TD is blissfully open. I wrap a frozen claw around the door handle, stumble inside and stack nourishment on their countertop. The kindly woman at the register examines me with concern.

“You look cold.”

“Gloves … my mother sent some. Get them soon. Mother loves me.” And I realize I’ll be traveling soon, between my new home and the old. And I feel just a little warmer inside.

Comments