READ ME A BEDTIME STORY: Friday Night Frights 

READ ME A BEDTIME STORY: Friday Night Frights 

Jonathan Joy 

The Ashland Beacon 


   Those Randolph High School students love their football.  Randolph is a little, sleepy town that kisses the muddy banks of the Ohio River on its southern side but, wow, does it wake up and come to life every Friday night in the fall.   

   There’s nothing like the roar of the crowd through crisp autumn night air as some Randolph running back jets into the endzone for a touchdown.  Young ones in attendance cheer on the home team, while older folks in the stands think back to their time on and around the field years ago, the good ole days indeed.   

   It’s a picture perfect, small town American portrait of autumn.  Feel the anticipation before a big play.  Hear the marching band play.  Smell the hot dog vendor or Mrs. Simpkins’s pumpkin spice coffee wafting in your direction.   

   I don’t go out for football much, but on the rare occasion I do see a game, I enjoy it.  The best nachos are always at football games for some reason and the popcorn and pizza and candy…I guess most of my football memories are food related.   

   It was with this sense of nostalgia and a rumbling in my tummy that I set out for an hour-long drive to Randolph to watch the Randolph High School Radioactive Rabbits battle the Washington High Walrus Mob in, what I hear, is always an annual classic matchup.  

   Classic, yes, indeed, this year’s match will not soon be forgotten, as this was the year…now you are going to think I’m making this up, but I witnessed it with my own eyes…this was the year the football came to life.   

   It did.  The brown oval, piece of air stuffed leather, had enough of being tossed, spike, kicked and dropped about.  It came to life.  And it was angry.   

   Those white laces became sharp teeth that bit viciously at the quarterback, an unfortunate junior who had never been trained for this.  He dropped the ball and ran, while a stunned crowd grew quite silent.     

   The football bounced about agitated, uneven.  Anybody who got close to it got snapped at by those white leather teeth that eventually opened wider and wider to reveal a cartoonishly big mouth.   

   It seemed to be searching for something.   

   That football propelled itself high into the air above the heads of a now terrified crowd.  It hovered above momentarily before dropping down, stealing a quick sip of Mrs. Simpkins’s pumpkin spiced coffee, a bit of some dude’s corn dog, and some of my popcorn.  The thing had eyes now and winked at me as it did this.   

   Panic followed.  Somebody screamed.  Then many people screamed.  Then the football screamed.  People dashed for the exits, running over one another.  A few tried to take videos or pictures before evacuating, but that football smashed right into every phone or camera.  That’s probably why you haven’t seen any viral videos of this spectacular sight.   

   I stayed and watched.  I was frozen.  Fascinated.  Most ran.  But I stayed.   

   I stayed, so I could marvel at what I could do.  What I had accomplished.  It worked!  My spell.  Kroll told me it would.  It is not just he able to conjure such things.  I had done it, too!   

   I had seen enough.  It was over.  The ball, animate no more, fell hard to the ground.   

   A savvy player from the Washington High team was still lingering around and he realized something.  The clock had never stopped running on the fourth quarter.  The game was technically still going on.  That player whipped up the ball…very cautiously…and ran it into the endzone for a touchdown, as the game’s final seconds ticked down to zero.   

   Washington had won!   

   Players who had scurried off came back on to the field, realized what happened, and began to celebrate or pout depending on, you know, which team. 

   I think it’s safe to say neither team, nor anyone in attendance, will ever forget this Friday night lights night that turned to Friday night frights.     

   I just smiled, feeling quite accomplished at my success, finished off the last few bites of concession stand food, gathered my belongings, and headed calmy to the exit. 

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