It is late at night, and a man is walking down the hallway of his very large mansion. He is the only resident left in the mansion, and has been for some time now. He used to think that it was lonely, but he came to enjoy the silence as well as the peace that came with it. There was a lot of noise when he was younger. Playoff rankings, recruiting battles, huge touchdown celebrations, fireworks. Every Saturday he would hold large parties, and there was always a full crowd.
Not anymore, those times came to an end a while ago.
The man was tired, as evident by the bags under his eyes and he had pulled out just about all of his hair. That being said he would have still been considered good looking for his age.
He continued to walk barefoot down the hallway, the cold tile keeping him awake, and it let him know where he was since the only light in the hall was from the full moon and the beams of moonlight that came through the windows. He ran his hand along the frog skinned painted wall. He was told by many that it was a curious look, but he always took such pride in it. Always happy, he was to talk to others about that royal purple painted wall.
He made it to the room that he referred to as a den. It was a tall room, with book shelves all around, and a fire place on the far wall right next to a tall chair. The chair itself was red and very well cushioned. Every time he sat in it the man felt like a million bucks, or as he liked to put it double digit wins. Despite being a very successful man back in his prime, he was very humble. He only sat in his lavish red chair maybe every other day or occasionally 3 nights out of 4. During this mansion’s heyday, all of the guests would gather in this room as well as outside the room in the garden - which had not been cared for for some time now - and the windows would be open and the guests would listen to the man tell stories and play the piano. What were the guests more interested in, the piano’s music or the man’s stories? He never truly knew. The guests had been partaking in tailgai— I mean debauchery since the early hours, so it was difficult to gauge anyone’s true feelings on the matter.
Despite being all alone, and the chair being covered in dust, the man decided that he wanted to have a seat. He had not been in the room in quite some time, since the man typically saved that room for large crowds and good times. Neither was upon him now. He was surprised that the chair had gathered dust, since his Butler - Jeeves - still kept the mansion itself in top shape. It was Jeeves who lit the fire in the fireplace earlier that day.
The flames crackled, dancing in the quiet night, and could be seen in the reflection from the cold ivory tile floor. Before he sat down, the man walked over to the small glass table next to the chair and placed the decanter of whiskey and a glass full of ice that he had been carrying this whole time, down. He popped off the top of the decanter and poured himself a glass. The ice cubes touched his lips first and then the whiskey. Despite many a nights he spent with the familiar flavor, he still never truly got used to it. Just began drinking it on those Saturday mornings out of habit.
He went over to the book shelf that was closest to the fire place and took out a book labeled:
“2018 season, or at least what is remembered of it”.
He let out a soft chuckle. He had forgotten how comical that season had been, despite him remembering how truly painful that particular fall was. The man placed the book next to his glass of whiskey, and began to wipe the dust off of the chair with the sleeves of his night gown.
Once he had finally wiped what he had deemed was enough of the dust off the chair, he sat down on his old throne and let out a soft exhale. The air barely had enough time to leave his lungs before more whiskey had made its way down into his stomach.
The man didn’t have the strength to open the book after just one glass of the drink. Not literal strength, but emotional and mental. He even took the pack of cigarettes out of his gown’s pocket and lit one with the lighter that was in the other pocket.
He went over to the window, opened it and looked out at the garden as he took an inhale of the cigarette. He exhaled and blew the smoke out of his nose. It was dark, but he could see what remained of his once lavish garden in the bright light of the full moon. He couldn’t deny that he did truly miss how beautiful that garden had once look. Ripe with fruit, flowers, wins—I mean vines, and all of those were surrounding the second oldest oak tree in all the land. Well...it was at least the second longest tenured oak tree.
5 glasses of whiskey and 3 cigarettes later and he was ready to return to the book. He once again sat down and threw what was left of his last cigarette butt into the fire place. The flames didn’t even seem to notice.
He placed the book on his lap and opened it. Flipped to the 8th chapter, took a deep breath, and read the following text:
The very very bad:
- The Frogs lost to Kansas (that being said, high caliber program)
- The Frogs lost on a butt fumble to Kansas
- The Frogs fall to two games below five hundred
Tears already began to swell in the old man’s eyes, but he gathered himself and continued reading...
- Despite being able to move the ball at will, TCU came up short twice in the red zone. With the opening drive stalling on the one yard line after getting stuffed on another predictable Sewo cat play call.
- The other time never needs to be spoken of again, in fact let this be the only recording of it for the rest of history, but star running back Darius Anderson ran into his own lineman’s behind and proceeded to fumble the ball and seal the game for the Jayhawks. The Frogs were within booty length of winning this one and taking one step closer to bowl eligibility...but alas they did not come away with the victory.
- Defensive leaders Ty Summers and Niko Small both left the game with injuries, on a team that is already losing a lot of depth, this is one of the last things that we needed.
The man shut the book as he couldn’t read anymore. He already knew what came next, but he decided to spare himself from the pain. That fall was a long time ago, but the wound never really fully healed for him. Better times were had down the road of course, but the heartbreak he never fully got over. The whiskey did help though.
He stared at the fires dancing, and thought about what might happen if the flames escaped the fireplace and engulfed the entire mansion. After all, Jeeves had left for the night and it was the old man all alone.
The negative thoughts quickly left his mind and positive ones took their place. After all, despite the horror that he had witnessed on that no good day in October, there was still some good things to takeaway. He re-opened the book and skipped to his favorite two sections of the chapter:
The Good? There’s not much not going to lie, but I’m trying for us all:
- Collins showed a lot of poise and maturity in his first start, one that did come on the road. He threw for 350 yards and a touchdown, and did the smartest thing a young QB could do in their first start...got the ball to his playmakers.
- Reagor had himself a day with 177 receiving yards and a touchdown...thank the Lord above for JR.
- Taye Barber also had himself a day with 5 catches for 75 yards. It’s always good to see the young blood contribute.
- Despite having the game sealing blunder, Darius Anderson had 95 yards on the day and was averaging 5 yards a carry. It’s lovely when he gets the ball enough times in the game to get going. I really wish he had as many touches in previous games, but I still hold the theory that he’s been nursing an injury and that’s why he’s been “limited”.
- Sir Ben Banogu had himself a day with 7 tackles and 2 sacks on the day. I wish the best for this man so damn much that it hurts.
Play of the game:
Not much to work with here, but it was the first touchdown of the day for the Frogs and it is further proof that Jalen Reagor is made up of something different from the rest:
The man closed the book, placed it back on the shelf, and began to put out the fire. Once the fire died it was pure silence. Just the man, his thoughts, and the occasional wind. The moon illuminated the room, reflecting off of the tile. Around the ceiling of the room trophies were placed. A couple of pairs of Longhorn horns, a taxidermy wildcat, Jayhawk beaks (too soon), a musket, a picture of a cyclone, a golden tortilla that he had gathered from the field one morning, a schooner wheel, a pair of pistols, and like 4 pairs of bear paws all mounted.
It was then that he was reminded of all the joy that he brought to others when telling the stories of how he acquired each and every one of those trophies. In this moment, with the moon illuminating his back, the man broke a smile for what was the first time in a long time. He turned around and looked out the window, with thoughts of lavish parties rushing through his brain.
He had accepted isolation for too long, and it was time to do something about it. He paced out of the room, and back down the hall from where our story began. He went into the kitchen, and grabbed a cup from one of the cabinets. He filled the glass cup with water from his platinum sink. Went over to the large dinner table where he had eaten his meals for the past 45 years, since he was a boy, and saw that Jeeves had once again left out an arrangement of fruit. The basket was replaced with fresh fruit from the farmers market every day. The man grabbed an apple from the basket and took it back to the kitchen with him.
Grabbing a knife from the hanging rack he cut open the apple and took out the seeds. He gently closed his fist around them. He went over to where the rest of the knives were hanging and grabbed a pen and paper. He proceeded to write,
“Jeeves, in the morning I want you to call the gardener, it’s time we get the football tea—garden getting back to how it once was. Gorgeous.”
He left the note next to the basket of fruit that would be personally replaced by Jeeves in the morning. He went back to the kitchen for the glass of water and headed towards the side entrance. He walked out the large door and into the garden. With only his night gown on, he was able to feel the cold right away, but he remained determined. He approached the oak tree in the middle of the garden and dug a small hole with his index finger.
Before he planted the seeds into the ground, he whispered into his hand that contained the seeds,
“Start Justin Rogers or Shawn Robinson next year with a competent offensive line and everything will be fine”
He covered the seeds with dirt and lastly poured a small bit of water over them. Looked up at the moon and smiled. He was ready to pick himself up and to put this mansion back to the way it was. Everything was going to be okay.