I had this whole funny into typed out. I swear I did. Why would I lie? Why are you questioning me…?
Anyway, for reasons related to shenanigans that intro was lost. Let’s have a minute of silence in its honor.
Okay. On with the football!
The running back raced down the field. Plex was certain he was going to score but then Kalant, who Plex hadn’t even realized was on the field, streaked across the field and smashed into the running back. The two players crashed to the turf. For a moment it looked like the ball was going to pop loose but the runner managed to hang onto it. Still, the other team had made it down to the ten yard line, had a new set of downs, and with two full minutes left in the game, along with both teams having most of their timeouts left, the game could easily be turned on its head.
Plex suddenly understood why the dragon had been so excited about this game. He glanced towards the beast and Lavalandinarial seemed to have taken a renewed interest in the game. Its eyes were wide and they gleamed with a fierce intensity. It was actually rather horrible to look at and Plex quickly turned away.
The two minute warning sounded and the magic time glass stopped its slow drain of sand. Coach Sprout called the defensive line over to the side of the field and issued a quick series of instructions. Plex wasn’t close enough to hear what was being said even with his good elven hearing. There was too much noise in the stadium for him to focus in on the conversation. He considered moving closer but Coach wrapped up his instructions before Plex could get started in that direction and the defense jogged back onto the field.
“I guess I’ll see what his plan is anyway,” Plex mumbled to himself.
“What was that?”
Startled, Plex turned to see that the minotaur, Glavven, was standing next to him. The quarterback had been so focused on trying to hear Coach Sprout that he’d missed the giant running back finishing up a session with the healer and moving over.
“I was curious what the coach was saying but couldn’t hear. So, I was saying ‘I guess I’ll see what his plan is anyway.’”
The two players watched in silence as the teams moved into position to restart the game. It looked like the other team was setting up for another passing play. That made sense to Plex. While there were still two minutes left in the game, they needed more than one touchdown to get the victory and time was against them.
“We have not played well enough.”
The minotaur’s statement so startled Plex that he turned to face Glavven and missed the snap. Plex whipped his head back towards the field as the quarterback dropped into the pocket. There was decent pass coverage and the other quarterback had to throw the ball away before getting sacked to stop the clock again.
Without taking his eyes off the action, Plex asked, “What do you mean?”
“We have far superior players. We should have handled this team easily. We need to improve to ensure that we play better in our next match.”
“We need to win this one first,” Plex retorted.
Plex wasn’t about to refute Glavven’s confident statement. There was still a chance that the other team could tie the game up and they needed all the confidence that they could hold onto. If you went into any game, no matter what it was, thinking that you were going to lose, you were going to lose. He was glad for Glavven’s bold words and knew that he had to project the same level of confidence as well. As the quarterback, the team looked to him for leadership and he wasn’t going to let them down.
His eyes went back to the field and his heart nearly jumped up out of his throat on the very next play. The quarterback for Gilania’s team made a horrible decision and threw it to a wide receiver who was too well covered. A collective gasp came from the crowd as the defensive back jumped in front of the receiver. It was one of the easiest interceptions a defender could make.
The only problem was that the defensive back didn’t make it.
His hands closed less than a breath before the ball got there. It bounced off his fingers and fell harmlessly to the ground. All around him, the sideline became a chorus of groans and curses. None of them could believe that the defensive back missed a catch that was so easy. Plex didn’t believe it either. While the goblin defensive back looked at his hands in confusion, Plex knew that it wasn’t his teammate’s fault. The dragon had done something to prevent the interception. He just didn’t know what.
As the teams lined up for the next play, Plex tried to keep his anger in check. Lavalandinarial had already shown that she was capable of seeing into his mind. Any angry thoughts that might pop into his head would be all the excuse the dragon would need to swallow him whole. Plex pushed out all the thoughts he was having about the dragon and focused solely on the football. His attention needed to be on the game anyway.
It was now third down and the opposing team ran the ball again in what would normally be a passing situation. It worked once more. Most of the defenders were caught off guard again. Kalant wasn’t. The dwarf flew like an arrow as the running back cut to the outside. Both running at full speed, the dwarf ducked down and put the full force of his momentum into his shoulder, which hit the running back squarely in the stomach. It was a collision that would have even knocked Glavven to the ground despite the minotaur being twice the dwarf’s height and weight.
The other team’s running back, an orc, bounced right off him, though.
With Kalant’s tackle failing, there was nobody else to stop the orc from waltzing into the end zone. The arena was suddenly filled by the roar of the cheering crowd. While he didn’t want to admit it, Plex probably would have been cheering too if he was just a spectator. Games were more fun to watch when the score was close like this.
Glavven cursed then cursed again. Then a string a words began to flow out of the minotaur in his native tongue. It was angry and vulgar.
Plex, forcing his attention to stay on the field, took a minute to hear the outburst and by the time he had turned towards the minotaur the running back had worked himself into a fit. He placed a hand on Glavven’s shoulder and asked, “What’s wrong?”
Spit flew from Glavven’s mouth as he answered, reverting back to common. “This is not the first time something has kept us from our glory. Something is working against us.”
Internally, Plex cursed. He needed to get the minotaur calmed down before his outburst was noticed. At least it seemed like Glavven hadn’t figured out who was interfering.
“Someone is cheating. There is no honor in that. It is disgraceful. It is unacceptable.”
With each pronouncement, Glavven’s voiced rose higher and higher. The celebration from the touchdown was still loud enough that nobody was paying attention to Glavven but it was only a matter of time. “We are going to win, remember. You told me that yourself just a few minutes ago.”
Glavven turned a darker shade of red and then spat a gob of snot to the ground at his feet. “What will that victory mean? Nothing. It is nothing. This whole game, this battle, has been nothing. We have earned nothing. We have been allowed to appear like we are the victors. That is all.”
“Glavven,” Plex took on an urging tone and squeezed the shoulder his hand was still on, “you need to calm down. You can’t be seen having this outburst right now. Bottle it up and you can vent later.”
The minotaur carried on as if Plex hadn’t spoken at all.
“There is no honor in this. There is no pride. There is nothing. We have fought for nothing. We are nothing!”
The players around Plex had started to hear Glavven. He needed the running back to get control of himself now. He slapped Glavven across the face. “Glavven, get control of yourself. This outburst does nothing but help the other team.”
The minotaur didn’t seem to notice. If he did, he certainly didn’t care. Plex slapped him again, desperate to get Glavven’s attention, to break his rant and potentially save his life. “Glavven!”
Seething, the giant running back turned to look down on the elf. His eyes, burning the same red as his body, narrowed and steaming snot dripped from his snout. “This is not right.”
“No, it isn’t but if you don’t calm down you will die.”
Something had happened in the game. The crowd erupted in another loud rapture of applause but Plex didn’t dare look away from Glavven. Nothing could have happened that would have sealed the fate of either team, not in that one play.
“This is not right,” Glavven repeated with slightly less venom.
The minotaur was correct, of course, but it didn’t matter. In that moment all that mattered was keeping Glavven alive. Plex wasn’t sure what to say, though. And, he heard the dragon’s wings stretching. The beast was moving and it might already be too late, anyway.