Fantasy football in Death Valley

To the editor:

Rolling thunder echoes under the darkened skies of Death Valley. Roaming alone in the pasture of Reno is a mighty stallion. Big Red had personal problems last year, has put them behind him now and is ready to redeem himself after setting a record at Paul Brown, no turnovers in 2012, 39 defeats to the Tiger.

Meanwhile, at Paul Brown, the zoo keeper releases a tiger called Jungle. Jungle looks at a map for routes to Death Valley. A game warden warns the big cat about a new sign at the main gate of Death Valley. It reads, “At 5, say your prayers; at 6, the crypt opens; at 6:30 p.m. the Rolling Thunder Ghoul Band performs; at 7 that dreadful call of the undertaker echoes; at 7:30 p.m. horseshoe branding begins; at 8, the coroner has an expired tag ready; at 8:30 your autopsy begins; at 9:30 your name is engraved on a stone; and at 10 is your burial.”

Five weeks has past and the biggest battle in Death Valley is at hand. In the visitors lockerroom at the pasture of Reno, the tiger is taunted after reading a sign for all visitors: “You’re in a place where a pre-Madonna football schedule is prohibited.”

While in the legendary pasture warming up, the tiger feels that howling wind swirl and, as usual, cold chills from the eerie battle tone – bong, bong bong. The band holds up another sign just for Big Red: “The spirit of the stallion never shakes in the wind.”

Big Red appears on his ghostly gallop. Jungle is hoping Big Red is out of propane to heat up his iron horseshoes. The first half goes back and forth, as halftime shows 10-10. The third quarter begins with Big Red pulling out pliers and ripping off the tiger claws on a kickoff return, but the point-after failed. Big Red is up 16-10 while the tiger is still dancing in pain. The tiger is upset and Big Red gives a snotty grin as if saying, “I didn’t do nothing.” The tiger strikes back on a kickoff return, thanks to a quick right claw slap on Big Red’s backside, causing the stallion to dance with tones of “ouch, ouch.” Jungle makes his two-point conversion to go up 18-16.

At the start of the fourth quarter and at its own 30, Big Red fumbles and Jungle takes over. Just like that, Big Red gets a pick-six and makes its two-point conversion to go up 24-18. Both go back and forth and, late in the game, Big Red is forced to punt. Jungle shows his tiger speed -30, 20, 25, 20, 15, 10 … oh, a fumble. With no time on the clock, the ball went out of bounds at the two. Big Red redeems himself, 24-18.

Don Carnahan