CARL: This is Carl Drake, play-by-play commentator for NBS Broadcasting, coming at you live from the NBS College Sports Channel’s telecast of the University of Northern Mississippi’s season opener against New Orleans State University.

TOM: That’s right, Carl. This is Tom Hicks, color commentator for NBS Broadcasting, banished along with my co-commentator to the risible National College Sports Association sports circuit as a punishment for our transgressions against our corporate overlords.

CARL: I wouldn’t call it risible, Tom. At least everyone on the field today is passionate, and some of the athletes might avoid major injury long enough to become second-string players on a minor Continental Football League team with strictly regional appeal.

TOM: That’s right, Carl, I should be grateful that they didn’t stick us back on the high school athletics scene. And the sight of those indentured athletes, playing without compensation so that their universities and the NCSA can reap profits not seen since the days of Crassus the Triumvir.

CARL: It’s of special note today that this is the first season that UNM is playing with its new mascot and team name, the UNM Fighting Abolitionists. You can see Johnny Freesoil the Fighting Abolitionist on the field now, capering about in an attempt to drown out the jeers thrown at him by an unresponsive crowd.

TOM: That’s right, Carl. The UNM team was previously known as the Raiders, with Johnny Raider as their swashbuckling mascot. But the name and mascot both engendered controversy, largely because they were thought to be named after Hextrill’s Raiders, a notorious band of Confederate partisans and bushwhackers who fought the Union along the Tennessee-Mississippi border.

CARL: You sound somewhat dismissive of that, Tom. I don’t have to remind you that Johnny Raider was a Confederate cavalryman in fully butternut grey dress with saber and pistol–an anachronism, as Hextrill’s men never worse uniforms–who routinely chased a caricature of Philip Sheridan off the field–another anachronism, as Sheridan fought solely in the Eastern theater of the war.

TOM: That’s right, Carl. While I don’t deny that the old name and especially the old mascot weren’t in the best taste, in their haste to mollify everyone they managed to come up with a name and mascot that strike even this card-carrying Democrat as cloying. Better for them to ape the University of Michigan to become the Fighting Letter Ms.

CARL: Fair, enough, Tom, fair enough. What do you say we talk a bit about the game? It looks like someone just made a touchdown or something.

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!

“As you are aware, we have been asked to read a statement from the Continental Football League,” said CFL play-by-play announcer-at-large Carl Drake.

“That’s right, Carl,” added Tom Hicks, his color-announcement partner-in-crime and Gal-Friday. “We have the somber duty, as designated neutral third parties, to announce to you that Ulysses Calhoun, who you may know as the star forward of the Southern Michigan University Fighting Grizzlies, has failed to report for duty at the Richmond Squires spring training camp.”

“This constitutes evasion of the CFL draft, one of our nation’s most sacred institutions,” continued Carl Drake sorrowfully. “Those of you with a passion for history may recall that the CFL has not had a draft dodger since ‘Dike’ DeSilvo refused to report for training with the Iowa Caucuses in 1972, and that no draft dodging player has been convicted and sentenced since ‘Kiddie’ Voles failed to appear at the Birmingham Klansmen’s Grand Wizard Stadium in 1923.”

Tom Hicks, his head lowered, pursed his lips. “That’s right, Carl. It is our sad task to inform you that Ulysses Calhoun is now considered a fugitive from professional football. Under CFL Bylaw #237-B, it is hereby prohibited for anyone to give him aid or succor, and it is further required that anyone seeing Ulysses Calhoun or with knowledge of his whereabouts must come forward with this information. Failure to do so will constitute a violation of CFL Bylaw #237-B, and any such persons will be held as equally guilty of draft dodging.”

“While we urge the public’s help in assisting in the apprehension of this draft dodger, we must caution that Ulysses Calhoun is to be considered unarmed and dangerous. Do not approach him. We also wish to avoid a repeat of the unfortunate incident from the 1955 CFL draft when Swedish recruit Diks Vloeide was accidentally lynched on his way to training camp after a rumor emerged that he was a draft dodger.”

“That’s right, Carl,” sighed Tom Hicks. “Do not approach, confront, or attempt to apprehend Ulysses Calhoun. Report his location to the nearest local branch of the CFL armed forces and take shelter until the CFL Special Operations Group has had the opportunity to deploy. These dedicated professionals, many of them CFL veterans themselves, have the necessary combat, sport, and large animal handling experience to apprehend Calhoun and bring him to justice.

“The CFL Special Operations Group has honed their skills reining in CFL players during drunken escapades, drug binges, outbreaks of roid rage, and the rare, regretful circumstances when a player breaks containment and is allowed to roam free among the populace,” said Carl Drake. “Report any sightings, let them do their job, and soon we will be able to put these unfortunate events behind us.”

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!