In the loosely adapted ways of Dante, I present to you the second canto of Formerly's Football Inferno. I promise nothing when it comes to grammar, punctuation, logical plots, or anything that normally goes into story writing.
For those of you unfamiliar, Dante walks through each region of hell to learn the sins and punishment by talking to those souls trapped. In the second circle of Dante's hell, home to those committing Lust, the souls that blurred the line between love and sexual desire are tortured until their desires are purged.
Time flies by strangely here. For what seems like endless hours of walking, there is no sun to point my direction. When I look up to the sky, the only thing you can make out is a godzillatron reaching endlessly with small screens of Michigan updates being played.
There is a problem with these updates. It appears those damned to hell can't see them or make them out. Only I, the living, can see them. As we walk, I can see that Rich Rodriguez has signed a top ten recruiting class in his first year. That's welcome news. There's some crazy looking kids as I peak up at the big screen to see that varsityblue.blogspot.com is highlighting the class. It's a definitely a different air coming into Michigan, and that somehow comforts me as I cross down the cliff and trek across the plain of the damned in the second circle of hell.
As we hike forward, the weather becomes torrential. Great wind storms, like infinite tornadoes plague this level of hell. As we seek shelter in a path that runs through a ditch, I notice souls being thrown around in the wind, being held restless.
"Who are these people, tormented by the endless storm?" I asked Crockett.
He replied, "These are the pundits that either set aside their fandom in order to be objective journalists. These few men, and a couple women, mostly covered other teams, but some of them even covered Michigan. Like that guy there, that's Grantland Rice."
"Wow, he's one of the most quoted sportswriters of all time!" I exclaim.
"Sure is. I remember reading him as a ki… I mean, I remember hearing about his writing long after I had died."
"So you are John W-" I started.
Crockett cut me off, proclaiming, "Watch your tongue kiddo or I'll up and leave you here!"
"Yes, sir," I unleash remorsefully. What's with this guy?
"Anyway," Crockett says, "you want to talk with Rice? As a mortal, you have the ability to call on souls here, as long as you don't distract too many."
"Mr. Rice!" I call as his soul fades slowly out of the wind, as if all of a sudden it's not affected by the howling winds at all.
"Good day to you, sir. I'm Grantland Rice. I was once a great sportswriter covering the Four Horseman of Notre Dame. Now I am but a simple soul, ravaged by famine, pestilence, destruction, and this savage wind. I'm stuck in the blue-gray October sky, in a crest of the cyclone before the second circle of hell, peering down upon the bewildered panorama spread out upon the green plain below."
"That sounds vaguely familiar. Did you just rip off yourself?"
"Yes, I am he who penned the story of the four horsemen of Notre Dame."
"I thought so," I say. "So here's a question for you, why was Michigan the team that you never seemed to cover? It was always Notre Dame, Babe Ruth, Red Grange, Jack Dempsey. It seemed like you never covered Fielding Yost and the point a minute offenses."
"You see, I was one of a dying breed. Despite my lifting of athletes up to the level of demigods, I always wanted to be objective in my poetic tales. It just so happened that I was snatched up by Notre Dame during their glory filled years. You know, the ones they keep claiming are bound to echo back. Ha, unlikely."
"Yeah, ha. I've noticed that most of the spirits down here don't know what's happened recently in the mortal world. Did you hear about their yakety-sax 3-9 season? What a bunch of losers!"
Rice let out a sigh and responded, "No, I hadn't heard, but that doesn't surprise me either. I heard that Tyrone Willingham guy really did a number on them though. Or that's at least what I heard when Holth entered hell a few years back."
The intentional inclusion of Holtz's lisp made me laugh. "But Holtz isn't dead?" I ask. "I saw him on game day before I left."
"Souls can leave the earth before the body dies. It's not uncommon. The body is left without a soul to drift until it expires."
"That explains a lot, actually."
"Indeed it does… Alright, well, I feel I must return to punishment. I have been here with you long enough. May you have safe travels, and may you overcome the despair that you have not even seen yet."
Rice slowly backed away out of the ditch, and before I could even question the cryptic fortune, he was whisked away in the fury of the wind. Davy looked at me solemnly, with a look that I knew meant don't lust after the answer. So I didn't, and we continued on our way.