[View of Bill Snyder sitting at his desk in his office. Phone rings. He picks up.]
ASST: "Line 1 sir. It’s Eugene"
[Snyder’s mouth curls up slightly on one side, like the Grinch. He answers…]
SQUINKY: "Hey Bill, it’s Squinky."
[Snyder hangs up, shaking his head with a light chuckle. A minute later the phone rings]
ASST: "It’s Eugene again sir. Did you hang up on him?"
BS: "Yes. I can’t help myself. Put him through."
[a click, then a slightly timid, less jovial and resigned voice is heard]
S: "Hello Mr Snyder. It’s Eugene."
BS: "Well, how ya doin’, son? Been too long since we last spoke."
S: "I’ve been very busy sir."
BS: "Too busy to call your old man’s best friend?"
S: "I know, I know. Just don’t tell me any old stories. I’ve called to discuss busin….."
BS: "Hard not to talk about Waterloo. Did I tell you that was the first time your dad and I…"
S: "YES…yes, that was the first time you worked together. I know."
BS: "Oh it was grand. That short little man with the ego never saw us coming."
S: "Napoleon. His name was Napoleon."
BS: "Yes. Lovely little man. So easy to work with. All ego, no brains, no balls. Can’t get simpler than that, although I’m glad we do football now and not wars."
[silence…cut to Squinky, his head in his hand…]
BS: "So, Eugene, what did you need to discuss?"
S: "Bill….I mean Mr Snyder…I was just wondering…and I’m not suggesting you need any…but just wanted to be sure to offer my assistance this weekend, if you felt like you needed a little extra assurance."
BS: "You think I can’t handle this on my own?"
S: "NO NO NO….just being polite, just in case. I’m sure you have everything figured out already."
BS: "Well, actually, no. Not sure if I’m going to make a plan for Saturday."
BS: "That’s right. No plan. Just be in the moment. Let the game come to me."
S: "I don’t get that. You and Dad hatched some great plans...Jackie Smith's drop...Jim Marshall running the wrong way... He used to preach all the time about preparation. The one time I didn’t properly plan things went haywire for the wrong team."
BS: "That wasn’t a total loss. Helped me out quite a bit. Never would’ve come up with the idea to have that QB dribble the ball out so conveniently near the end zone the next season."
S: "Wait, you mean…"
BS: "Sure, and much more believable. At least I had a couple of players dragging him down. You made it look like Casper the Friendly Ghost got in the way. Ball just up and hopped out of his hand, then a kid with NO hands miraculously scoops it up and trots in for a touchdown."
S: "Come on, you know that was supposed to happen to OSU. Weeden was supposed to fumble a snap."
BS: "Yes, he was tough, but you should have winged it. That was your mistake."
S: "I’m confused. Dad always talked about the plan. He was so thorough. Never left any detail to chance."
BS: "Sure he did. His greatest moment, maybe the greatest moment ever in the history of blind luck."
S: "NO WAY…you mean…"
BS: "Yes. Franco Harris."
S: "YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING."
BS: "Nope. Your dad came to me the day before, pretty depressed. Couldn’t come up with anything new, refused to go back to the same old stuff. Felt like this was a special moment, that this was his chance to make his mark, but he couldn’t think of anything. I think he was afraid of Oakland's coach. That guy wasn’t afraid of us, and I think he actually sniffed out one of your dad’s plans the season before. I told him, why not just wing it. All it takes is one moment, one little flick of the tentacle. Wait for it, get into the emotion of the game, then you’ll know when it’s time. Don’t give Madden a chance to figure it out. What followed was pure brilliance."
S: "I’m speechless. Not even Mom knows that story."
BS: "Your Mom doesn’t even know about ME. That’s how good we have to be."
S: "Yea, she thinks Cooper is a bum because he couldn’t make Kansas State lose when you came back. Has no idea you were actually training him."
BS: "He is a bum, a buffoon. Kid has absolutely no talent. Sent him to Texas as a favor to his Dad, who’s a real tool. I mean, how do you mess up the game ending fumble TWICE…TWO YEARS IN A ROW…and in Ames, Iowa, of all places! Cooper is working with a team that is BEGGING for his services and he can’t even get a simple fumble right. If you can’t make something bounce the wrong way on the road in Ames, you have no chance."
S: "Yea, Ames is probably the easiest place I’ve ever worked, especially when they play on Thursday or Friday nights."
BS: "You don’t realize it, but you have exactly what your Dad had…a sense of the moment."
S: "You mean the FG attempt over the upright?"
BS: "No, no, that was run of the mill stuff. Good, but nothing special. Someday lots of OSU fans will forget that play. No…the moment I saw "The Drop" in ’88 Bedlam... THAT was when I knew you had it. THAT was a moment. Don’t believe me? Ask around…fans not only remember that play like it was yesterday, but they remember that guy’s name. First AND last. Brent Parker. Just rolls off the tongue. THAT was a mere flick of the tentacle."
S: "Holy shit, you’re right! I had totally forgotten about that! I was so ready, had it figured out, plan and backup in place. I was nervous as hell because that Sanders fella was almost impossible to deal with."
BS: "There’s always a player or a coach. It only takes one to really mess things up."
S: "The refs. Don’t forget the refs. People think we use them, but they are so undependable. I couldn’t have anticipated that ridiculous PF penalty after the 3rd down run. Completely threw me for a loop. Before I knew what was happening Gundy was rolling out on 4th down and I just knew he was going to throw it to that stud WR who got them in all that trouble. I had nothing. I would’ve been toast. But he didn’t, and in that split second I flicked. Nothing big, just a little flick."
BS: "You see? Doesn’t always have to be a plan, and the BEST moments are never scripted. Think Bartman."
S: "What, the Cubs? You mean to tell me…."
BS: "Yep. That would’ve been my moment if it wasn’t for Mrs O’Leary’s cow."
S: "You’ve had two moments? Dad was right. You are the best, and you do it all while out in the open. Unbelievable."
BS: "That’s the perfection of it, Eugene. Everyone thinks I’m this wise old coach. Seriously, nobody’s good enough to win a championship with a QB who can only run in a conference built on throwing it everywhere. Klein couldn’t throw it through a wet piece of toilet paper."
S: "That’s what Dad admired most about you. You take the impossible and make it believable. He always said that was a special gift you had."
BS: "Thanks Eugene. That means a lot to me. Tell ya what…why don’t you come to the game with me Saturday, hang out on the sideline. I’ll get you in as a ball boy or something. Maybe if the right moment presents itself I’ll let you flick a tentacle."
S: "REALLY? You’d let me do that?"
BS: "Sure I would, but on one condition."
S: "Name it."
BS: "Stop using that ridiculous name."
S: "I think I have plans, was going to take this week off. Maybe have some errands. Oh yea, I was going to visit my Mom and my sisters."
BS: "Yea right. Enjoy your time off Eugene."
S: "Good luck on Saturday, Mr. Snyder."
BS: "I AM luck, Eugene."