I haven't had much time for blogging lately, but with the Super Bowl approaching, I thought I'd share a piece of my favorite writing about football - a passage from Jack Kerouac's 1950 novel The Town and the City. What I've quoted below is part of a much longer scene describing a high school game between fierce rivals on a blustery, autumn New England day. 

They saw the Lawton team across the field in a huddle of great captains, standing in the wind in their dark uniforms, helmeted fantastically, all grotesque, wild, and ominous; they saw the officials in white placing the new yellow football on the kickoff line; they saw the whole mob-swarmed terrific stadium in a gray windswept blaze of vision. Whistles were piping in the air, silence was falling over the multitudes, the game was ready to begin.
And then when Peter saw the ball up in the air, wobbling and windswept, and saw it bouncing down before him, he was mortified with fear. Then he lunged for it, picked it up, snarled and ran straight downfield with all his headlong might, crashing and stamping through a confusion of hard bodies and falling finally on the icy midfield beneath ten others, and the game was on....
Down on the field the teams lined up, the linemen digging in low and glaring at each other, the backs crouching, the quarterback calling out numbers with his whole body jerking behind each shout, the officials waiting expectantly nearby, and all of it windswept on the dark field to which all eyes were fastened excitedly. The lines collided, biffed, scattered, long rangy youths sprawled, someone ran and ducked into a pileup of bodies, and it was no gain...
The crowd suddenly roared as someone ran wide around end, around reaching hands, arching his back and waving one arm, cutting back suddenly on dancing feet, wavering, darting aside, plunging on a few yards and pulling along to a stop under a pile of bodies. The crowd's roar surged away into droning chattering sounds, cowbells and drums rang in the sharp air...
And now suddenly the crowd rose to its feet with one roaring cry of surprise, explosive and vast, as a Galloway player swept wide around the end, leaped into the air, twisted, and shot the ball several yards over dark helmeted heads, as another Galloway player paused, twisted, reached out for the ball, barely grasped it in his fingers, turned and went plummeting downfield along the sidelines. The roaring of the crowd surged and grew thunderous, the Martin mother jumped up on her seat to see, and she saw a figure racing down the sidelines, shaking off tacklers with a squirming motion, plunging through others with a striding determination, tripping, stumbling, staggering on half fallen and half running, straightening out once more, plodding, faking, yet suddenly approaching the goal line in a drunken weary run, staggered aside by another lunging figure, momentarily stopping, then carrying on again, striding to the line falling, with a dark figure smashing into it, now wavering on bent knees, now finally diving over and rolling in the end zone triumphantly.

 

 

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