Volume 30, Number 4

The Players

Lauren Marie Schmidt



going to the game today to watch the rest of the boys play. lets put this shit behind us and move on as a community. GO BIG BLUE!


WTF? idk what went down that night, but if it is not PIV, IT IS NOT RAPE. bitches throw that word around soooooo much these days!!! Finger In Vagina is not rape!

so you got drunk at a party, two guys took advantage of you, that’s not rape, that’s you just being a loose dumb slut.

these boyz dont deserve to be called rapeists for the rest of their lives. one drunk girl can ruin everything. stay away!!!!!!

This girl wasn’t forced to drink. Girl set herself up. But I would hate to wake up with pee in my hair as well.

RAPE? Smeh. Remember girls, if you’re drunk/slutty at a party and embarrassed about it later, just tell everyone you got raped. Everyone will believe you. #LessonLearned

This town and those boys will be fine. Nothing can take down that team. GoBigBLUE!

Star football players, now there lives are destroyed. #OneMistake.

I honestly feel bad for the boys in this situation. All because of that whore. The news won’t even release her name.

Player 49: Halfback

“The Right Thing”

If someone on the team rats us out, I already know who it is.

He tries to act tough, to be one of us, but he’s not, bro. He’s never been, not since we were little. I’m not even sure why I keep him around other than that our families have known each other forever and because we play football together.

But we don’t have anything else in common, really. He’s the Kicker, but he’s a chicken shit on the field who has a habit of choking when a game is on the line—lucky for him, we’re usually so far ahead that it doesn’t matter that he chokes. Dude can’t keep up when we’re drinking, he talks about how much shit he’s done with his teeny little girlfriend in the Honors Classes, but we know all he’s still a virgin. And he’s always doing stuff a chick would do, bro, like being sensitive. The girls seem to like him but that’s because he’s a fuckin’ pushover. He should have been born in like the 20s or something because he lets girls walk first through doors, and he is always polite to them. Chicks think it’s sweet, but it makes me think he’s just being a pussy. What I know of chicks is that they want to be told what they want. Or, actually, they want to be told it’s OK to want things.

Especially when it comes to sex, bro.

Girls have it in their heads that they shouldn’t get around because they’ll get a reputation and guys won’t respect a chick with a reputation. But that’s not how guys think at all. Maybe back in the 20s they thought that, but not now, bro. Now, dudes want chicks who won’t make you play a bunch of fucking games to get laid. There’s nothing worse than being all hard and ready while your bitch is trying to make up her mind about whether or not she’s going to let you do what you want.

That’s the way chicks think of sex, too, bro—they let us have sex with them. They have to say it’s OK. It’s all a part of the idea that chicks have to pretend they don’t want sex, so they don’t want to let us do it right away. They have to play the game, the one that lets us think they are good girls who don’t do this with lots of guys, that they don’t want sex at all, not right now, not this way. But they do, bro. They do. It’s the dude’s job to talk her into it so she doesn’t have a way of saying no because she doesn’t really want to say no anyway. They just think they should say no. Because you ever notice how late in the action a chick says no? It’s always like right when you’re about to put it in, and by then, you can’t handle yourself. So fuckin’ frustrating, bro.

Then you have to hide the fact that you’re mad and about to explode and like, try to be nice and smile at her, touch her on the face, stare into her eyes for a long time and tell her it’s gonna be OK, till eventually, she quits squirming and asking you questions like “Are you sure you love me?” and other things like, “I’ve never done this, can we take it slow?” Can you tell I’ve been there before? Many times, bro, many times. All that back-and-forth is so unnecessary because eventually, if you hang in there, the girl will just go along with it, even if she’s all stiff and not moving.

That’s why alcohol is helpful—it shortens that back-and-forth to just a few seconds because they’re drunk enough to go along with it, but not too drunk that can’t say they didn’t want it. And if it isn’t a no, bro, it’s a yes. That’s the perfect amount of drunk. And when you learn which girls give in easier, you make sure you tell your boys about new items in Community Property. That’s what we call it: Community Property. It used to be that you wouldn’t go after any girls that your buddies got with, but high school is four years, bro, and there are only so many girls to go around. So, unless it was somebody’s sister, all girls were potential for Community Property.

I take all the credit for putting this one girl on the market. She has the most beautiful green eyes and straight, dark hair. One of the seniors told me when we were sophomores that he’d gotten with her and that it was cool if I went after her. It was at another party, and we had to go through the same old bullshit routine, of course, her saying she’s not sure and me looking at her like she’s the only chick I will ever love for the rest of my life… but we got there, finally. Afterwards, I shared news of it with my boys and pretty much anyone who tried, eventually got to hit that shit. So, I’m responsible for putting that piece of Community Property on the market. A lotta dues have me to thank for that one ‘cause she’s bangin, bro.

The only dude that hasn’t nailed her is this kid, and not just because he’s a virgin, but because I don’t think he wants to hook up with her. I remember the first night that I hooked up with her. It was in the basement of the dude’s house the party was in. When it was over, she was passed out on a small couch in the corner of the room. She was wearing just my T-shirt, so anyone who came downstairs could kinda see her shit. My friend was trying to find his sneakers when he came to the basement, where a few of us were playing XBOX and drinking.

“Yo, where are my sneakers, guys?”

“I don’t fuckin’ know, bro. Find’em yourself,” one of us said.

He was looking under pillows that were thrown on the carpet, a few sweatshirts that had been taken off and left on one of the two big couches and a recliner. When he got to the corner where the girl was, you could see he was surprised and maybe even a little embarrassed. So what does this pussy do? He pulls the hem of my shirt down so you can’t see anything anymore and then swipes the hair out of her face.

“C’mon, bro, you’re covering up the show!” we yelled over our XBOX game.

“Fuck you,” he said all low, shaking his head. He took one of the sweatshirts from off the recliner and draped it over both of her legs. He went upstairs after that, still looking for his shoes.

He did all this kind of quickly, like he knew he shouldn’t have been doing that and when he told us to go fuck ourselves, even then, he couldn’t do it with any sort of force behind it. It was a shy “Fuck off,” a pussy “Fuck off.” That was two years ago, but he still can’t stand up to us, even now.

I know he’s going through the same shit in his head with our boys and this new girl. He left the party that night early, and I think I even heard him crying and throwing up outside. He has a habit of doing this—of leaving us when he doesn’t like what we’re doing. It will be a million years before he’d ever have the guts to say anything to us, which is why we still let him hang out. Bad enough that we get whining from chicks we’re trying to bang—we don’t need the same bitching from one of our own kind.

But this situation is different, bro. This isn’t about some quiet time you’re having with your girl trying to get her to figure out that she wants to have sex with you. The details that are coming out, all those pictures that were sent around, even by me because I’m a dumb shit, we can’t have someone who’s all bent out of shape about it.

We’re supposed to be a team, on and off the field.

And I don’t think this kid’s got it in him to do the right thing.

Player #11: Kicker

“That Night”

My father blames himself for this—the fact that I was there and didn’t do the right thing. When he found out that I will have to testify to avoid being charged with any crimes myself, he kept saying, “I don’t even know you, I don’t even know who you are.” To him, it doesn’t matter that I never touched the girl or that I didn’t take any pictures or videos. I was there, he says, “And that’s enough.” I’m in this mess because I was in one of the pictures posted online, standing off in the corner of the shot, drinking a beer.

The car ride to the lawyer’s office was completely silent. My father, who usually waits till everyone’s buckled up before event starting the car, was halfway backed down the driveway before either of us clicked our seatbelts into place. I made one small attempt to talk to him on the way there because, like, what do you do, right? You have to figure out just how bad the situation is any way you can—you can’t just sit there and not say anything.

“Dad?” No answer. “I think I’m gonna quit the football team. I don’t want to play with those guys anymore.”

Keeping his eyes on the road, he made a low snorting sound and shook his head. I couldn’t tell if he made that noise because he thought I was being stupid for trying to test the waters with him, or if he thought I was being stupid for thinking he’d allow me to play on that team after this shitstorm. Either way, the snort was his only response. I looked over at him while he was driving a few times the rest of the way there, but he never took his eyes off the road.

When we finally got there, he threw the car into park, rushed out of the car and stormed up to the door all before I was unbuckled. He didn’t even wait for me.

The lawyer was intimidating. Her office was full of large windows, and where there weren’t windows, there were walls of framed diplomas from all the places she went to school and awards and pictures of her shaking hands with different people, politicians, maybe? I don’t know, but they were all important-looking people: men and women in suits in front of the American flag and court benches. In one of the pictures, she’s at a park with a group of people who are all wearing the same green T-shirt and plastic gloves, holding a garbage bag full of trash. It’s the only picture where her hair is messy.

The woman in the other pictures was the same woman standing in front of me. Tall, maybe like my parents’ age, thin, with brown eyes and thin lips. Her dark hair was pulled into a low bun, and slicked back so no little hairs stuck out anywhere. She didn’t wear makeup or jewelry except for earrings and a wedding ring, and when she spoke, she was kind of distant—almost like she didn’t want to talk to me, only that she had to—but she wasn’t mean.

When we first sat down, she could see that the sun from the window behind her desk was getting into our eyes, so she stood up and closed the vertical blinds.

“That better?”

“Yes, thank you,” my father said. “Now, what is it that you need from my son?”

“Well, right now, I need your son to tell me what he remembers of the night of the party and answer a few questions. We will write up a formal statement, which you will both have to sign. And when we, the prosecution, present our case, your son will need to testify in court.”

“And if he does all this, he will avoid any punishment?”

“That’s the idea.” She turns to me. “I’m going to take an audio recording of what you’re saying so I have something to reference later on. I’ll also be taking notes. Now, whenever you’re ready.”

When I started talking, it all came out like a confession, like I was a criminal, like I had done something wrong. I told her about all the drinking games, the beer pong, the shot-gunning, the funneling and the keg stands. I told her about the dancing, how girls were dancing sexy, like strippers, grinding into boys they liked, or rubbing up against each other. I told her about how some girls were lifting up their shirts to show off their bellies and smacking their own asses and the asses of other girls they were dancing with. I told her how guys would pressure girls into kissing each other and sometimes they did.

“And these kinds of drinking parties happen on a fairly regular basis?” the lawyer asked.

Of course they happened regularly. How could she even ask me that? This is exactly what kids do in this town and for that matter, this is exactly what adults do in this town too: work and school during the week, Big Blue and drinking on the weekends. What else is there?

“Tell me about what happened when the party was over. As I understand it, the events in question here happened after the majority of the kids had gone home and there were only about a dozen or so football players left at the house, presumably to sleep over. Is that how you remember it?” the lawyer asks.

Yes, that is how I remember it because I had been in similar situations before. It was sophomore year, and I was trying to make curfew after another Big Blue party. When I was in 10th grade, I wasn’t allowed to sleep at my friends’ houses like I am now—or maybe not anymore—but when I was a sophomore, I always had to get home. I was rushing around because I couldn’t find my sneakers. I went down into the basement of the Quarterback’s house, where we watched porn videos and drank and played video games all the time, and there were like six or seven guys playing X-BOX, while this girl was flung over some random couch in the corner, all of her junk showing. I got a sick feeling in my stomach because she looked so drunk that I didn’t know if she knew where she was or what might have happened to her that night. She was wearing the jersey of our starting Halfback, but it wasn’t covering her up all the way. So, I put a sweatshirt that I found over her legs and tried to clean her up a little. She opened her eyes at me, her big, green eyes, whispered thank you and fell immediately back to sleep. When I walked back to where they were to ask if they had seen my shoes, they gave me shit about covering the girl up. I told them to go fuck themselves and left.

That was the first time I had ever seen anything like that, but the more I went to parties, the more I saw things like that happen all the time. But it was always like the girls in the basements wanted to be there, like the girl sophomore year. She’s, like, well known for getting with a lot of guys now, so when I look back on that night in the basement two years ago, I’m like, well, she probably knew what she was doing and it’s not my place to babysit.

And that’s what I remember about Jane Doe at that party. She really wanted to be with the guy she liked, the kid who plays Wide Receiver. People said she had a crush on him. The two were dancing most of the night and kissing or whatever. But when people started to leave the party, that girl, the one from sophomore year, tried to get Jane Doe to leave with her. She was tugging her arm and making her pretty green eyes all wide at her to show she was serious, that she shouldn’t be in that basement alone. Looking back, I think it’s because the girl with the green eyes knew what could happen in this basement. This basement is famous for shit going down.

But Jane Doe tore her arm out of the other girl’s hand, grabbed the guy’s arm and followed him to the basement. And that’s the moment in question. She made the decision to stay at the party with her crush. Doesn’t that mean she could have made other decisions later?

“So, when it was just about a dozen or so of you in the basement, what happened?”

How do you tell a woman you don’t know and your own father what happens in a dark basement at 2AM on a Friday night? How do you tell them that we all kept drinking and randomly passing out? That two of the guys had their clothes removed down to their boxers and socks and had powder dumped all over their faces? That one guy drew giant dicks on his two friends’ stomachs and then recorded another guy talking shit for ten minutes about the one girl who stayed at the party? The one girl who had her shirt lifted up and eventually taken off, the who had been photographed, passed out with her clothes all over?

“When they started taking pictures of her without her top on, that’s when I left.”

“That’s when you left? You just left? You left that girl in there by herself? I don’t even know who you are,” my father shouted.

Those were his first words to me in days.

I wish I knew how to answer, but how do you explain that you’ve tried to do the right thing before to people who aren’t there every day, who don’t walk around school with these guys and see how they’re treated. They are mean to younger kids, smaller kids, fat kids, whatever, and they never get in trouble. They don’t have to do homework because they either get smart cheerleaders to do it or because they’re in good with their teachers because their teachers knew their fathers or played football with their uncles.

This town treats the football players like we’re special. Anywhere you go, you see reminders of Big Blue. At the barbershop where my dad goes, there’s cork board with the football schedule on it, and you can see that the owner has closed the shop so he can attend the games. You go to the grocery store, and you’ll see that there’s a special Big Blue Tailgating section with hot dog and hamburger buns and condiments, paper plates and napkins, red Solo cups, that sort of shit. Drive down Water Street and you’ll see almost all the storefronts with banners and hand-painted signs with ribbons and glitter. In the houses of our classmates, former players have their high school football portraits on the wall, all of them in the same position: kneeling on the left knee, right foot on the ground, knee bent, right forearm leaning across the bent right knee, left hand resting on the helmet on the ground next to the left knee. And, in all of them, the same oversized shoulder-pads and the same tough-guy faces. Drive around town and you will see as much football stuff during football season as you do Christmas decorations every winter. That’s how it is around here, and a lotta people think we deserve all the attention we get. Football is something larger than all of us, and because we play, we feel large too. Even then, some of us are not as large as others. I am not as large as the others.

We were at the Quarterback’s house—he’s the most important guy on the field, and he knows it. He’s got his parents wrapped around his little finger, and they let him have parties all the time. His family is a legend in this town. He has three older brothers—all of them got scholarships to play football at big state schools. Free rides. The kid who plays Wide Receiver, the other kid in this shit, schools have been scouting him since we were freshmen because he’s so good. He figured out how not to fail all his classes and just focus on football. Kid’s gonna be set for life. Or, at least those things used to be true.

That’s why people in this town don’t like the way things are going down with two of Big Blue’s biggest stars on trial. You take Big Blue out of this town, it’s like taking God out of church. What’s left?

I don’t know how to explain that I tried to do the right thing. As soon as those two boys were messing with her clothes, the other two took out their phones and were recording them, taking pictures and posting shit online. “You think this is a good idea, you guys? Don’t you think this could get out of hand?” But they were too busy laughing and calling me a pussy. When they pulled her shirt over her head and started feeling her up and posing near her passed-out body, I knew there was nothing else I could do but save myself.

“Yes, Dad, I just left.”

“Is there anything else you’d like to tell us, anything else you can remember?” the lawyer asked, ready to scribble in her notepad. I shook my head. “OK, I just have a few more questions about some things you said here.”

I wanted to answer the lawyer, who kept asking me questions, but I could tell my father was crying. For one thing, the lawyer reached across her desk to hand him a box of tissues, but every time I tried to answer her questions, I kept seeing my father’s head shaking back and forth and hearing him sniffling and blowing his nose. I kept losing my place, trying to keep everything straight—I knew I was ruining his opinion of me with every word I spoke about that party. Because for him, every ugly detail meant I had a bunch of chances to do the right thing and didn’t.

The best I could do that night was leave early and throw up on my way home.