The Sound and the GameDay (Part 1 of 3): Lee

Through the earpiece, between the sounds of the voices I hear that nobody else does, I could hear them talking. They were looking at where the red light on the camera was and I sat and waited my turn. Fowler was looking over some notes to the right of me. The red light came on and Kirk was talking. Then the red light went out and the other red light came on, and Fowler talked and then Kirk talked. Then they went on and I sat and waited my turn. Fowler took us out to a commercial break and we sat and waited our turns and I looked at the cameras while all the red lights were off.

"Hey, Corso." I looked. They were behind the screen, a bunch of them. I looked through the screen and I couldn't read the signs in their hands above their heads and the producer says the signs call me bad words and I looked away back at the cameras.

"Listen at you, now." Fowler said. "Aren't you something, seventy years old, going on that way. After I gave you that pep talk before the show and everything. Hush up that whimpering. Aren't you going to help us do the show so we can watch the game this afternoon."

They were doing the show, to the right of me and to the left of me. I looked back out at where the cameras were. The red lights were off.

"We're back in ten." says the producer. Kirk leans over to me and he whispers, "Who're you picking in the Notre Dame game."

I am cold. I am at the desk and the red light on the camera is on and this is the show and the producer says this place is Notre Dame and I am cold. Craig is to the left of me and he leans over to me and he whispers, "Can you believe it. It's No. 1 against No. 2 and we're actually here." I am cold. I am cold.

Fowler smells like trees. "It's too cold out there." the producer told me. "You don't want to go out doors."

"What is it now." Fowler said.

"He wants to go out doors." the producer said.

"Let him go." Craig said.

"It's too cold." Fowler said. "He'd better stay in. Corso. Stop that, now."

"It won't hurt him." Craig said.

"Then let's go." the producer said. We went.

I am bundled up tight in my coat. I am cold. I don't know where this is. It is outdoors and it is cold.

"Where are we again." I said to Craig.

Craig smiled and laughed. "Notre Dame." he said.

"Who are they playing." I said to Craig.

Craig thinks I'm cutting up with him but I really can't remember. Craig laughs. Craig says it's Florida State.

I felt myself laying and I don't remember being asleep but I remember it being dark and I felt myself sitting. I heard a rushing noise in my ears that I didn't know what it was. I heard myself say, "Buddy."

Buddy's bed was across the room from mine. I saw Buddy laying in bed in the dark and after I heard myself say his name I saw Buddy sit up and reach out to the lamp and it was light. Buddy is my roommate. We play football together.

"What is it, Scooter." Buddy says.

"Was I asleep." I says.

"You had a bad dream, Scooter." Buddy says. "Go back to sleep."

I looked at Buddy's face. Buddy's face looked out at me from up on the screen.

Buddy didn't look like Buddy looked when Buddy and I were playing football together. He had more hair in the back and a cowboy hat and a moustache and he was driving a fancy black car with a pretty girl in it when he looked out of the screen and smiled at me. I think somebody told me it was a movie about smoking and bandannas but that might not have been right. Buddy was in the movie and Buddy invited me to come see it but I don't know why.

Somebody had put me in a fancy black suit but I don't remember who and I don't know why. I heard somebody say I was in a tuxedo but I don't remember who and I don't know where a tuxedo is. Maybe that's the name of the town we're in but I don't know and it was dark so I just watched the movie until the lights came on and I quit.

Somebody stood me up and took me somewhere but I don't remember who and I don't know where. There was Buddy and he was wearing a fancy black suit and he had a pretty girl with him. I thought she might be the same pretty girl Buddy had in the fancy black car with him but I also thought she might be a surfer girl or maybe a nun. I liked her. I really really liked her.

I walked up to Buddy and I asked him where a tuxedo was. The pretty girl laughed at that but I don't know why. I asked Buddy if we were in a tuxedo. He said I was and I asked him how we got to a tuxedo. Buddy said we weren't in a tuxedo were in Atlanta because the movie was filmed in Georgia.

The producer said we were on top of the Tate Center but I didn't know what the Tate Center was. It looked like a building to me. There were lots of them on the bridge behind me and some of them said, "Corso, please don't pick us." I didn't know who they were.

There was something big and fuzzy under the desk. I don't know how it got there but it was always there for the last segment. The voices I hear that nobody else does told me to bend down and pick it up and put it on. The voices I hear that nobody else does called it headgear.

I bent down and picked up the big fuzzy thing under the desk and I put it on. It looked like a big empty bulldog head but the voices I hear that nobody else does told me to put it on so I put it on.

A bunch of them on the bridge behind me booed when I put the headgear on my head.

I could hear Kirk laughing and clapping from a long way away but I couldn't see him from under the headgear on my head. The voices I hear that nobody else does kept saying "Ohio State will beat Penn State. Ohio State will beat Penn State." and the red light on the camera came on and I said Ohio State will beat Penn State.

There was something big and fuzzy under the desk. I didn't know how it got there. The voices I hear that nobody else does told me to bend down and pick it up and put it on. I bent down and picked it up and put it on and said Ohio State would beat Penn State. I didn't know what I had on my head but I could hear Kirk laughing and clapping from a long way away.

The red light on the camera went off. The voices I hear that nobody else does told me to take it off of my head so I took it off of my head. I put the headgear on top of the desk. Kirk was still laughing and clapping. I asked Kirk what the big fuzzy thing on top of the desk was. Kirk said it was Brutus.

Buddy handed me the book and told me to read the parts with my name next to them but I didn't see my name and I couldn't remember what my name was supposed to be. Buddy kept telling me he was supposed to be Brutus and I was supposed to be Julie's seizure but I didn't know who Julie was and I hadn't had a seizure since the Big Nurse changed my medication and started giving me what Fredrickson and Sefelt got until Fredrickson told McMurphy and me that Dilantin made your gums rot and I quit taking all my medication and threw the control panel through the window that night and headed back to Tallahassee to see what they'd been doing since the N.C.A.A. tried to buy their right to be Seminoles. Mostly, I just wanted to look over the country around the campus again, just to bring some of it clear in my mind again. I'd been away a long time.

Buddy pointed to the part of the page where I was supposed to read. He said he wanted to be an actor and he needed me to help but I didn't know how I was helping so I just looked where he pointed and I read: "I could be well moved, if I were as you; / If I could pray to move, prayers would move me: / But I am constant as the northern star."

We started out 3-0-1 last year, my first year at Louisville, but then we went down to Denton to take on North Texas in our first conference game. They had a defensive tackle the previous three years, a kid named Joe Greene who went fourth in the draft that year, but, even without him, they still beat us 31-13 and wrecked our season. We stumbled the rest of the way, losing four of our last six, and we were off to an 0-2 start this year, so it was only fair for us to beat North Texas in our first home game of the fall.

That was the start of something big for us. Dayton beat us the next week, but, after that, we ripped off seven wins in a row and now here we are, Pasadena Bowl-bound to take on Long Beach State, and, if we can pull this one off, it'll give ol' Louisville it's first bowl victory since the '57 Sun Bowl.

The light on the camera came on and Fowler looked at the camera and said we were at Sun Devil Stadium. He said Florida and Nebraska were going to play.

I thought Florida and Florida State were going to play but Kirk said Florida and Florida State played at Thanksgiving and we were there to see it but this was New Year's and Florida was going to play Nebraska instead of Florida State. I was cold. I was cold.

Fowler said Florida and Nebraska were going to play and I thought Florida and Florida State were going to play but Kirk said Florida and Florida State played already. It was good that Florida and Nebraska were going to play. If Florida and Florida State had played already and Florida and Florida State were going to play again, I would get confused.

People don't believe me when I tell 'em that I led F.S.U. in rushing one year and in passing the next, but it's true. I ran for 431 yards in 1955, which doesn't sound like much, but we only played 10 games a year in those days and I averaged 3.9 yards every time I touched the ball, which ain't half-bad. I threw for 369 yards in 1956, which doesn't sound like much, either, but, again, there's that whole 10-game thing and I didn't chuck it up there 60 times that season, but I completed more than 30 of the ones I threw.

The funny thing is, Bobby Renn did the exact same thing right behind me. Bobby ran for nearly 600 yards in '56, then he threw for 263 in '57. I know what you're thinking . . . 263 yards, but, hey, the guy only threw it 54 times that year and, of the 23 of those that got caught, Bob Nellums hauled in 21 of 'em. Ol' Bob and Bobby . . .

There was a guy at Florida called Bobby Stoops and now there's a guy at Oklahoma called Bob Stoops but Kirk says they're the same guy. I told him I used to coach at Indiana with a guy called Bobby Knight and now Indiana just fired a guy called Bob Knight but Kirk says they're the same guy, too. Kirk calls my buddy Buddy "Burt." Buddy smells like trees.

There's a guy at Florida State called Bobby Bowden and there's a Tommy and a Terry and a Jeff Bowden but I don't think there are any guys called Bob Bowden. I asked somebody about it and I think they told me I'd seen Bob Stoops four times this year and I'd seen Bobby Bowden two times this year and now I was about to see Bob Stoops and Bobby Bowden again but nobody told me if we'd see Bobby Stoops or if there was a guy called Bob Bowden.

I asked somebody about it and I think they told me I'd seen Frank Beamer one time this year and I would have seen him two times this year if the game hadn't been canceled when lightning struck my car. I don't remember much from when the lightning struck my car and I asked somebody about it and I think they told me I wasn't in my car when the lightning struck it but I'm not so sure about that.

I asked somebody and I think they told me we were at the Orange Bowl but I'm not too sure about that either because I'm looking back at it and it doesn't look like the Orange Bowl. It looks like Joe Robbie Stadium. Miami smells like palm trees.

I hear the voices I hear that nobody else does and I turn back around. The red light on the camera came on.

The red light on the camera went off and I took the headgear off and put it on the desk. I took my earpiece out and put it on the desk. I took my lapel mike off and put it on the desk. I got up and followed Fowler back to the dressing room. "You get undressed, now." Fowler said.

I got undressed and I looked at myself, and I began to cry. "Hush." Fowler said. "Looking for Louisville and Indiana ain't going to do no good. The '79 Holiday Bowl win over B.Y.U. is gone. You keep on like this, and we ain't going to have you no more pregame." He put my underpants and shirt on. I hushed, and then Fowler stopped, his head toward the window of the trailer. Then he went to the window of the trailer and looked out. He came back and took my arm. "Here he comes." he said. "Be quiet now." We went to the window of the trailer and looked out.

Kirk was coming toward the trailer. He passed through the window coming toward us and disappeared, then the door to the trailer opened and Kirk came in. Fowler said, "Kirk." Kirk said, "Chris." Fowler looked down and left quickly. Fowler closed the door quietly behind him.

"Just look at your drawers." Kirk said. "You better be glad I got here before the show started." Kirk put my pants and tie and jacket and lapel mike on. I followed Kirk to makeup. We sat down in chairs and got up from the chairs and I followed Kirk to the set. We sat down. I put my earpiece in. The red light on the camera came back on again.

Then I put the headgear on and I could hear them say "Hey, Corso." They sounded very far away. I took off the headgear and I could hear us all, and see the red light on the camera, and there was something I could smell. And then I could see Fowler to the right of me and Kirk to the left of me and the screen behind me, where the crowd is buzzing. Then the red light on the camera went off and the morning began to go in smooth, bright shapes, like it always does, even when Fowler says that I have been asleep.

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