The Entire Fate of Football Legend

by jkatejohnston

20 January 2014

Dear Max,

Yesterday morning I went to Trader Joe’s and then jay-walked across the street to CVS to get Fritos Scoops for the game. A heavy woman with grey hair and a Kaepernick jersey was there too.

“Go Niners,” I said.

“They’ll do it,” she said with quiet conviction.

The game started at 3:30. We were ready: black bean dip with tons of onions, Fritos Scoops, salsa, sour cream, browned-butter chocolate chunk cookies. Enzo made frothing cold milk with the whisk and a big mixing bowl. The Niners lead all through the first half.

When the Seahawks took the lead in the third quarter, Enzo and I went to the kitchen and painted red 7’s on our arms with food coloring. “This might have the entire fate of football legend written on it.” More football. Enzo jumping on the bed. “I’m sending all my thoughts. I think I just tampered with the future.” Then the Seahawks got a touchdown, and he raced to his bedroom to put on his 49er’s pajamas bottoms. (He was already wearing his knit cap and jersey, and Teresa had his 49ers baseball cap on.)

“We need a touchdown to win,” said Teresa. “And the extra point.” There were only about three or four minutes left to play, but she said that was plenty of time in football time.

After the two-minute warning Enzo said, “I don’t think the Niners can win. But if we get this touchdown, Sea Chickens! What yard line are we on?” Time passed. Football time. Then Kaepernick threw an interception in the end zone with twenty seconds left to play. Teresa turned it off. “That’s the game,” she said. Enzo started to cry, and Teresa comforted him and herself: they played well, they had a great season, there’s always next year, they tried their hardest.

“I am so rooting for the Seahawks in the Super Bowl.”

“Well I’m rooting for the Broncos.”

“Nobody can beat the Russell Wilson.”

“The Broncos’ quarterback has a lot of experience. He’s been there before.”

“I can’t believe I painted myself red for nothing. And we lost even though I was almost coated in red. I am so going to throw away my Niners pajamas.”

Later, in bed, he said in a tight whisper, holding back tears. “I cannot get over the fact—the Niners lost.”

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