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Florida State rediscovers football

NCAA Football: Chick-fil-A Kickoff-Alabama vs Florida State Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Jimbo Fisher stands on a white line. He is compelled to be here, a place he does not recognize, for reasons he does not understand. Fisher scans his surroundings and spots an odd object a few yards to his right. He walks over to it, crouches down and picks it up. When he stands up again, he notices that not far off there’s a collection of individuals milling around in a vague half-circle. He strides toward them.

“Hello,” Jimbo says.

“Who are you?” asks a young man. He is wearing the same clothing as the men pacing uncertainly around him.

“I don’t know, but I think I’m supposed to be here.”

The young man heaves a noticeable sigh. “So do we.”

Jimbo lifts the half-inflated football to his face, blows off an eternity’s worth of dust. “Anybody know what this is?” He holds the football above his head.

“I think I did once,” the young man says. He stares ponderously into the distance.

“A misshapen egg! It must have fallen from a nearby nest!” someone else suggests.

“It’s not an egg,” the young man asserts, certain for the first time. “I have seen this thing before, somehow I know that I have seen this thing before.”

A third man in the half circle pipes up. “Does anyone know why we are all here wearing the same shirts and pants? Does anyone know why there is a spear painted on the birdcages we’re all holding?”

“This has nothing to do with birds!” the young man snaps. It took a minute, but he’s figured it out. “That’s a football. It’s not a good regulation football but it’s a football nonetheless. We’re football players.” He looks at Jimbo. “You’re our coach.”

Jimbo is not so sure, but concedes in silence that the design of the large plastic pumpkins everyone is kneeling with could not practically house a bird. He glances down at his feet upon hearing this—it is a nervous tic of his—and sees a whistle hanging around his neck. When he looks back up, his foggy sense of what’s happening slowly clears.

“This is a football and I coach football and you all play football. It’s been so long that you forget what you’re meant to be doing, but this is what we’re supposed to be doing, I think. Maybe it isn’t though, maybe we should be gardening, but probably we should be playing football. But if not that I would look to gardening as a solid second option.”

From a tower somewhere, a horn sounds. Everyone disperses. The young man jogs off in a different direction from most, turns his head back to Jimbo, and says, “I think I’m supposed to be over this way.”

Jimbo pauses. “What’s your name?”

“It’s Jimmy.” he says.

Jimbo begins to jog in the same direction. “Well good luck, Jimmy.”