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A Hundred Gourds 1:4 September 2012
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Steven Carter - US


Watertown

game day –
coach
pacing the sidelines


He was fairly typical of the genre, a demanding, leather-lunged martinet who bullied his charges and produced several excellent, punishing high school football teams during the nineteen-sixties and seventies. ­He groomed his only son from early childhood to be a star player. The boy did have considerable talent, becoming a starter his junior year, but from the beginning he’d never enjoyed competitive sports. “There’s too much of your mother in you,” the coach liked to say.


If the boy mustered the courage to express his feelings to the father–which he did on occasion–father and son always argued, the arguments escalating into shouting matches. Then, when the boy
begged for permission to quit the team mid-way through his senior year, the coach refused, saying that it was better not to have a son at all than one lacking intestinal fortitude.


On a bright, cold early December morning one day before the game to decide Connecticut’s state championship, the boy’s body was found hanging from the football field’s east goal post. In the end,
both father and son got what they wished for.

day moon –
championship
won by a field goal


line

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