To: Hamilton Tiger Cat Football Fans
From: Jason Maas
Subject: June 30th game vs. Calgary Stampeders
Um. I don’t know why I did it.
I mean, I know it was second and ten and I was standing in my own end zone, which meant that the guy who was a few yards directly to my right, well he ALSO had to be in our own end zone. Simple geometry. And he wasn’t even really “open”, either – not in any real sense. “Open” maybe in the sense that nobody really thought that anyone with two neurons to rub together would throw that far across the field to a guy in his own end zone – when there were two defenders standing a few yards in front of him – maybe that kind of “open”, but not “open” in the sense that he’s going to catch it and make a first down.
My point is, I knew all that stuff. Heck, I’ve played in the CFL for like 8 years. I passed for more than 5000 yards during one of those years. Five thousand! That’s like 4 and a half kilometres. It’s not like I haven’t proven in the past that I know what I’m doing.
But here’s the thing: I still threw that pass. Standing there in the middle of my own end zone, facing a second and ten from the shadow of my own goal post at a critical juncture in the game and (it must be said) at a critical juncture in my personal football career (let’s face it, new o-line and untested receivers or not, the pressure is on me to SHOW the fans that I can still play this game after a miserable 2006) and I still, incomprehensibly, chose to throw that pass. From all of the infinite options in the universe of possibilities – I somehow eliminated all other alternatives and chose to throw that astonishingly unintelligent pass.
The box score will say that Brock Ralph lost a fumble in our end zone and that the Stamps recovered for a touchdown. But you know that’s not true. You’re a football fan – you know that this thing, this mistake, this abortion of a play – it was my fault. Sure, Brock made a dumbass move later in the game, when it was well out of reach – you know, after I spent almost the entire second quarter and most of the beginning of the third throwing passes 0 to 5 yards up the field, or fumbling the snap from centre, then got pulled for Timmy Chang – Brock went offside and cost us a meaningless, but somehow hopeful, touchdown with a dumb penalty. But we’re not talking about later in the game after the Calgary defense had gone home, safe and secure in the knowledge that they had a 20 point lead, we’re talking about the moment in the second quarter when everybody in the stadium simultaneously said “what the hell was he thinking” and I threw that pass. And I know that you’re too much of a fan to actually sit there thinking, for the entire week, that “Dammit, Brock Ralph cost us a touchdown by fumbling the ball in our end zone.”
You know that it was my fault. You know that somewhere deep inside my alleged grey matter, something went seriously wrong there, like when you plug your tape deck in to the “phono” input of the stereo and the music is suddenly all garbly and distorted or one of the channels like completely fries and there’s a small puff of very acrid, vaguely toxic smelling smoke, and suddenly the left channel of your amp doesn’t work at all anymore. Yeah, you know it was like that, neurologically speaking, for me – you know that when I was standing there with the ball and the decision making process ought to have been underway in my head, instead my synapses had doused themselves in mai-tais, formed a conga line and cha-cha’ed out the metaphorical doorway, drunkenly swinging their hips and burping up funny coloured bits of rum-flavoured slushy mix. And I can’t even deny it. That is basically what happened inside my head when I did that thing.
Um. So, I’m uh, sorry. About that. And, um. The fumble on the snap from centre. And, um, well most of the other stuff I did (and didn’t do) in Calgary last night. Because you know, even the one long pass that Nate Curry caught wasn’t really a good throw. It kind of hung up there like a duck, quacking away. I was sort of surprised that it didn’t get shot down by four guys wearing orange hats and carrying shotguns. It was a good thing the Calgary defender was off buying popcorn when I threw it, never believing that I was actually going to chunk the ball downfield, or he might have made a better play on that ball. You know, come to think of it, even ol’ Nate had a kind of look on his face, a kind of “Jeez, maybe I shouldn’t have had shotgunned those six beers at halftime but really I had no frickin’ idea you’d be actually throwing it – well not exactly “to” me, but like in my general direction” kind of thing. So, um. Anyway. Um.
I’m sorry, and I thought it would be best if we could just get this out in the open, you and I. So there it is. If we run in to one another on the street, you don’t have to kind of stare at your shoes, shuffle your feet and mutter something about the “new playbook” or “breakdowns in the offensive line coverage” or anything. And for my part, I don’t have to wear that kind of “crying puppy” expression on my face, looking for sympathy to displace reason – because I want us to be good, you and I. You know that I fucked up, and I know that you know it, so we can just be adult about it and nobody needs to clear their throat and idly muse about some dipshit thing like “bad breaks” or whatever. Because they weren’t “bad breaks.” I fucked up.
So now that we have that straight, everything is cool, nobody needs to worry about anything, and you and I are good. You’ll support me as the quarterback of this team, and I – in explicitly recognizing and taking responsibility for my own farcical shortcomings – have demonstrated to you that I know what’s wrong and I am going to fix it.
Future Former Ticats Quarterback
p.s. oskee wee wee and all that jazz