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Mr. Dooley on the Game of Football by Finley Peter Dunne

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Mr. Dooley on the Game of Football by Finley Peter Dunne


by Finley Peter Dunne

"Whin I was a young man," said Mr. Dooley, "an' that was a long time ago,--but not so long ago as manny iv me inimies'd like to believe, if I had anny inimies,--I played fut-ball, but 'twas not th' fut-ball I see whin th' Brothers' school an' th' Saint Aloysius Tigers played las' week on th' pee-raries.

"Whin I was a la-ad, iv a Sundah afthernoon we'd get out in th' field where th' oats'd been cut away, an' we'd choose up sides. Wan cap'n'd pick one man, an' th' other another. 'I choose Dooley,' 'I choose O'Connor,' 'I choose Dimpsey,' 'I choose Riordan,' an' so on till there was twinty-five or thirty on a side. Thin wan cap'n'd kick th' ball, an' all our side'd r-run at it an' kick it back; an' thin wan iv th' other side'd kick it to us, an' afther awhile th' game'd get so timpischous that all th' la-ads iv both sides'd be in wan pile, kickin' away at wan or th' other or at th' ball or at th' impire, who was mos'ly a la-ad that cudden't play an' that come out less able to play thin he was whin he wint in. An', if anny wan laid hands on th' ball, he was kicked be ivry wan else an' be th' impire. We played fr'm noon till dark, an' kicked th' ball all th' way home in the moonlight.

"That was futball, an' I was a great wan to play it. I'd think nawthin' iv histin' th' ball two hundherd feet in th' air, an' wanst I give it such a boost that I stove in th' ribs iv th' Prowtestant minister--bad luck to him, he was a kind man--that was lookin' on fr'm a hedge. I was th' finest player in th' whole county, I was so.

"But this here game that I've been seein' ivry time th' pagan fistival iv Thanksgivin' comes ar-round, sure it ain't th' game I played. I seen th' Dorgan la-ad comin' up th' sthreet yesterdah in his futball clothes,--a pair iv matthresses on his legs, a pillow behind, a mask over his nose, an' a bushel measure iv hair on his head. He was followed by thee men with bottles, Dr. Ryan, an' th' Dorgan fam'ly. I jined thim. They was a big crowd on th' peerary,--a bigger crowd than ye cud get to go f'r to see a prize fight. Both sides had their frinds that give th' colledge cries. Says wan crowd: 'Take an ax, an ax, an ax to thim. Hooroo, hooroo, hellabaloo. Christyan Bro-others!' an' th' other says, 'Hit thim, saw thim, gnaw thim, chaw thim, Saint Alo-ysius!' Well, afther awhile they got down to wur-ruk. 'Sivin, eighteen, two, four,' says a la-ad. I've seen people go mad over figures durin' th' free silver campaign, but I niver see figures make a man want f'r to go out an' kill his fellow-men befure. But these here figures had th' same effect on th' la-ads that a mintion iv Lord Castlereagh'd have on their fathers. Wan la-ad hauled off, an' give a la-ad acrost fr'm him a punch in th' stomach. His frind acrost th' way caught him in th' ear. Th' cinter rush iv th' Saint Aloysiuses took a runnin' jump at th' left lung iv wan iv th' Christyan Brothers, an' wint to th' grass with him. Four Christyan Brothers leaped most crooly at four Saint Aloysiuses, an' rolled thim. Th' cap'n iv th' Saint Aloysiuses he took th' cap'n iv th' Christyan Brothers be th' leg, an' he pounded th' pile with him as I've seen a section hand tamp th' thrack. All this time young Dorgan was standin' back, takin' no hand in th' affray. All iv a suddent he give a cry iv rage, an' jumped feet foremost into th' pile. 'Down!' says th' impire. 'Faith, they are all iv that,' says I. 'Will iver they get up?' 'They will,' says ol' man Dorgan. 'Ye can't stop thim,' says he.

"It took some time f'r to pry thim off. Near ivry man iv th' Saint Aloysiuses was tied in a knot around wan iv th' Christyan Brothers. On'y wan iv thim remained on th' field. He was lyin' face down, with his nose in th' mud. 'He's kilt,' says I. 'I think he is,' says Dorgan, with a merry smile. 'Twas my boy Jimmy done it, too,' says he. 'He'll be arrested f'r murdher,' says I. 'He will not,' says he. 'There's on'y wan polisman in town cud take him, an' he's down town doin' th' same f'r somebody,' he says. Well, they carried th' corpse to th' side, an' took th' ball out iv his stomach with a monkey wrinch, an' th' game was rayshumed. 'Sivin, sixteen, eight, eleven,' says Saint Aloysius; an' young Dorgan started to run down th' field. They was another young la-ad r-runnin' in fr-ront iv Dorgan; an', as fast as wan iv th' Christyan Brothers come up an' got in th' way, this here young Saint Aloysius grabbed him be th' hair iv th' head an' th' sole iv th' fut, an' thrun him over his shoulder. 'What's that la-ad doin'?' says I. 'Interfering' says he. 'I shud think he was,' says I, 'an' most impudent,' I says. ''Tis such interference as this,' I says, 'that breaks up fam'lies'; an' I come away.

"'Tis a noble sport, an' I'm glad to see us Irish ar-re gettin' into it. Whin we larn it thruly, we'll teach thim colledge joods fr'm th' pie belt a thrick or two."

"We have already," said Mr. Hennessy. "They'se a team up in Wisconsin with a la-ad be th' name iv Jeremiah Riordan f'r cap'n, an' wan named Patsy O'Dea behind him. They come down here, an' bate th' la-ads fr'm th' Chicawgo Colledge down be th' Midway."

"Iv coorse, they did," said Mr. Dooley. "Iv coorse, they did. An' they cud bate anny collection iv Baptists that iver come out iv a tank."

~~~~~~~ THE END ~~~~~~~

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