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Print Stories March 20, 1998
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Mary Robison
An Amateur's Guide to the Night
1983

Coach remembered a fall night, a Friday-night game night, long ago, when he had put Daphne on the playing field. It was during the ceremonies before his unbeaten squad had taken on Ignatius South. High School. Parents' Night. He had laced shoulder pads on Daphne and draped the trainer's gag jersey--number 1/2--over her, and balanced Tim-somebody's helmet on her eight-year-old head. She was lost in the getup, a small pile of equipment out on the fifty-yard line. She had applauded when the loudspeaker announced her name, when the p.a. voice, garbled by amplification and echo, had rung out, "Daughter of our coach, Harry Noonan, and his wife--number one-half, Daphne Noonan!" She had stood in the bath of floodlights, shaking as the players and their folks strolled by--the players grim in their war gear, the parents tiny and apologetic-seeming in civilian clothes. The co-captain of the team, awesome in his pads and cleats and steaming from warm-up running, had palmed Daphne's big helmet and twisted it sideways. From behind, from the home stands, Coach had heard, "Haaa!" as Daphne turned circles of happy confusion, trying to right the helmet. Through the ear hole her left eye had twinkled, Coach remembered. He had heard, "God, that's funny," and "Coach's kid."

--from "Coach"

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