Suppertime Thursday at the Hansen Football Performance Center
Alright, the bus leaves tomorrow for Champaign...
As Kirk speaks, Iowa’s group of tight ends talk about their trip
Isn’t true that Illini babes don’t shave their pits?
But they’ve got nude beaches?
Hey, did you hear what time we’re leaving tomorrow?
Who cares, I’ll make sure your big butt is up.
Fant walks back to the food line, but before he can grab another scoop of green beans. Buzz – I mean Brian – budges in front of him.
Ah Fant, I didn’t see you.
Am I on more of your plays this week, coach?
Yeah, you were, but then I accidentally threw them in the trash. Now, I’ll have to draw them back up. Nah, it’s too late.
That is the last straw, Fant charges at Brian and puts him in a headlock.
(Sprinting over to the scene) Hey, stop, stop! What is the matter with you?!
He started it. He threw away my plays on purpose, he’s trying to sink---
Look what you did, you little jerk.
Let’s go, Noah.
They leave the dining room
There are over 100 people on this team, and you’re the only one who seems to make trouble.
I don’t know, our offense has been trouble, have you considered your own so---
Alright, get in here.
That’s right, you’re staying here in player’s lounge. Maybe, you can think about what you can do to help the team.
I’m pretty sure being on the field would help th---
And give me your phone.
Yes, this is a punishment. You need something to keep you company – Rastetter and Gersonde are here almost every night playing air hockey.
Oh no, I don’t wanna be here with them. You know about them – they’re punters.
Exactly, maybe you’ll learn a thing or two.
It’s too late, get in there.
Everybody on this team hates me.
I hope you don’t mean that. You’d feel pretty sad if you woke up tomorrow morning and you didn’t have a team.
I hope that I never see any of you jerks again.
After two hours of punter air hockey, the lights go down on the player’s lounge with Fant trying to get comfortable on a couch.
The next morning, the Hawkeyes board their buses and begin the exciting trip to Champaign-Urbana
On the bus
Hmmmmm. Something’s not right. Something’s off.
You’re always like this when we travel.
Did I pack gum?
No… I did.
Did we lock the doors?
It’s a key card system. It locks automatically.
Did we remember to bring a football?
Did we pack my notepad?
That’s it, I forgot to grab the notepad off your desk. That’s it.
No, that’s not it.
Well, what else could we be forgetting?
With no teammate to wake him up and no phone to set an alarm, Fant rouses from his sleep on the couch. He walks into the dining room.
Hello? HELLLOOOOOOOO? Hmmmm, somebody should be here.
Fant continues his journey through the football facility, but nobody is there. He steps into Kirk’s dark office and turns on the light.
Coach? Coach? Wait, there’s his notepad, coach wouldn’t have left without this. So, they haven’t left yet. Where is everybody?
As the first bus rolls in to the Champaign Holiday Inn, Coach Ferentz sprints right to the front desk.
I need to use your phone, it’s an emergency.
Kirk quickly dials
C’mon, pick up. Pick up.
A muffled ring tone starts to play in Kirk’s coat pocket.
Call the phones at the facility.
Meanwhile, back at the practice facility.
(wistfully) I made my team disappear.
You’re the only one on this team to make trouble.
Check… check… check… left OZ, left OZ, left OZ
You want on the field? All you got to do is arm wrestle me.
Look what you did you little jerk.
(happily) I made my team disappear.
Fant begins running around the practice facility, screaming his head off. As he does, the phone rings at the front desk.
Nothing. Oh god, what have I done? I have to go back.
We’ve got a game tomorrow. Why don’t we play the game and just head back after? He’s 20 years old for godsake.
I can’t do it. Not after last week. I’m going.
Alright. Good luck… I guess.
Back at the football facility.
Brian, I’m going through your office. You better come out and pound me.
One by one, Fant takes things out of Brian’s desk, including: a 1989 Playboy magazine, firecrackers, and Starting Lineup action figures, until one item causes him to pause.
Brian, your playbook, woof. [tosses it behind him].
Man, I’m kind of getting hungry.
Thirty minutes later…
Coach Ferentz, I’m here with your pizza.
Fant hits the play button on his laptop.
Ten minutes later...
Uh-huh, uh-huh, that’s great. I’d love to hear more about getting on track and Northwestern, but I’ve got a few more pizzas to deliver. Do you think you could pay me?
Five minutes later...
Forget it, you know what, I’ll just leave it here by the door. Good luck tomorrow.
It’s not all fun and games, however.
Are you ready to do this?
We’ve got all weekend.
Yeah, but we better do it sooner than later.
Fant walks in front of the van from the practice facility to Kinnick Stadium
Wait, is that Noah Fant?
Is he here by himself?
Fant runs routes on the Kinnick turf, but notices the two men standing on the concourse.
[shouting to nobody in particular] Hey, coach, how about you come down and throw me some passes?
As soon as the two men leave the stadium, Fant follows them, getting within earshot.
He’s definitely here by himself.
Yep, tomorrow at 9 o’clock.
Coach, where are you?
At that exact moment, Kirk is at an airport counter
You have no flights to Iowa City?
That’s it? I’ve gone from Champaign to Joliet to Carbondale to Springfield to, where the hell am I?
And you have no flights to Iowa?
It’s not exactly a long trip, have you considered driving?
Fine, do you have any rental cars?
I heard you might need a ride.
A ride home?
I might have a solution.
Saturday night, Noah Fant sits in an empty Kinnick Stadium when someone nears.
Can I sit here?
You look lonely.
Two days ago, all I wanted was to never see my teammates and coaches again. They weren’t using me anyway. Now, I just want to see them, be part of the team again.
That’s the great things about teams. You experience everything together. Good. Bad. But always together. Some want bigger roles, some see special treatment. But the goal, the goal never changes.
That’s… that’s true. Say, is there any personal trauma that you’re experiencing? Maybe something that I could look out the window at in a few days that would put a nice bow on this thing?
Me? Trauma? Hell no, I’m Hayden Fry. Remember what I said… protect this stadium like it’s your home.
You never said that.
Fine. Protect this stadium like your home. Now, it’s cold as an armadillo’s tongue out here, I’m heading back to Nevada.
Fry leaves and Fant stands up.
He’s right. I have to protect this stadium.
When 9 o’clock rolls around, Fant has Kinnick Stadium booby trapped with paint cans, Micromachines, a blow torch (for some reason), and feathers. The visitors stand no chance.
Somewhere on I-74
Are you going to tell me why you were in Peoria?
No, and it totally has nothing to do with a prank.
I never mentioned a prank.
Prank? Prank? Who said prank?
I’m a bad coach.
Why, because you accidentally left a player behind? C’mon, we all do bad things every once in a while. Look who you’re talking to. I do bad stuff all the time. That doesn’t make you a bad coach.
It’s not just leaving Fant in Iowa City, I’ve forgotten about him during the games too. It is almost like me leaving him in Iowa City is a metaphor for my stubbornness in not having him help our team.
Whoa. That’s too deep for me. Slim-Jim?
Sunday morning, Barta and Ferentz arrive back at the facility.
Noah? Noah? Are you there?
Fant runs from the player’s lounge and stops in front of his coach
Oh, Noah, I’m so sorry.
I’m sorry, too. Wait, where is everybody else?
They tried to make it, they real—
Just then the front door of the facility bursts open and the Hawkeyes pour in led by Phil Parker and Brian Ferentz.
Noah, Noah, my boy. We missed you.
Wait, wait, how’d you get here?
We left after the game, the one you didn’t want to attend. Wait, you just got here, too? How long were you guys on the road?
Did we win?
Noah, I’m sorry. We can’t do this without you. And it’s pretty cool you didn’t burn the facility down.
Well, we’ve got so much to do. Short week to get ready for Nebraska and I’m starving.
Don’t worry, I got 20 free pizzas waiting in the dining room.
What? Wow. Alright, to the dining room.
As the players and coaches file out to the dining room, Fant steps to the window. All is right with the world as blue and red light begins to stream in. Kirk, meanwhile, looks up for the first time at the TV screen in the dining room.
NOAH, DID YOU ASSAULT TWO JANITORS TRYING TO CLEAN KINNICK LAST NIGHT?