Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bullet Bob and the benchwarmers

I attended my high school reunion a few years back and made the mistake of attending the Homecoming football game. My high school was clearly the underdog and, while we all like to see the underdog win, this was not to be. By the start of the second half, the rival team was four touchdowns in the lead and they had already started using their second string. By the third quarter the rival team was using a few of their third string and all of the fourth string against my school’s starting team. It was a disaster, but it brought back memories of a homecoming game I played in many years earlier, and although I was on the winning team that time, the real story was the player who got his fifteen minutes of fame in that one game.

We had a second-string quarterback who had warmed the bench most of the season, but with our team clearly in the lead, the coach was determined to give all those on the bench a chance to show their mettle. So was the case with the second-string quarterback, later nick named, Bullet Bob, by the state’s largest newspaper. Anxious to make a good showing, Bullet Bob threw a pass and we immediately scored a touchdown. After our defensive team got possession of the ball again, our Bullet Bob called for another long pass and we scored another touchdown. By the time the game had ended, the bench  had scored more touchdowns than the starting team and the sports reporters were clamoring all over themselves to get an interview with Bullet Bob.

Bullet Bob never went on to play college ball, nor did he ever have another near flawless night on the high school grid-iron, but that one night he was the hero, he got the sports page headlines and his, once-in-a-lifetime, fifteen minutes of fame. For the rest of his life Bullet Bob never made the sports page headlines or any other headlines for that matter and as the years went by he was known simply as Bob, but that one evening on the grid-iron was the highlight of his life and the one moment of glory every bench warmer longs for. So here’s to the coaches who give the Bullet Bobs of the world a chance for their fifteen minutes of fame and here’s to the bench warmers, may they all have the opportunity Bullet Bob had so many years ago.

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