Fourth And Goal Part I: Pressure

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This is part of Voice Week at BeKindRewrite.  The goal (at least as I interpret it) is to describe a scenario from five different voices or points of view, so naturally I chose a football game that comes down to a last second touchdown attempt (ok, so it’s hardly the most original idea I’ve ever had- kind of like being a football player for Halloween a few years back- but it works). I’ll be going from the point of view of the quarterback, the head coach, the coach’s wife, the fans and the alumni so hopefully I can convey all the emotions that are involved in college football and create five completely different stories from the same idea…..oh yeah, and I have to try to keep each piece to a little over 100 words….here goes nothing. And I just realized, this is my 200th blog post. Not bad for three years of sporadic writing and posting!

Jack Chandler had been training for this moment since he was six years old; his father had enrolled him in peewee league football to toughen him up, and at first he had hated the very idea of being a quarterback. Over time, though, as he became a better player and had more confidence in himself, Jack grew to love the game, though over the years he wondered if he played solely for his father’s acceptance. He couldn’t dwell on the past, though, as he called the team’s last time out.  The score was 28-34 with only 9 seconds left on the clock and the ball was on the six yard line –the other team had missed a field goal earlier, and his team could advance to the semifinals by one point if they got a touchdown. It was all up to him. He could either carry the team with him to victory or the grief of a season-ending loss with him into the locker room.

“No pressure, huh?” Michael Collier, his roommate and go-to wide receiver joked as they broke the huddle  and took the field.

Jack could only shake his head no as he looked to the sideline for the play, wishing that he saw anyone but his father giving the signal.

(word count 213- ok so I can’t usually write something in under 100 words! This isn’t a galloping shock to my regular readers)

13 thoughts on “Fourth And Goal Part I: Pressure

  1. Congratulations on 200 posts! I just recently hit 100 and was a bit shocked.
    Sharpen that editing knife and gut it! I felt that the length actually worked against the build of tension, in this case. He’s thinking this within seconds, yes?
    That said, though, the pressure building from when he was six and on into a pivotal moment in a game is a great image.

    • Yeah I’m trying to show the pressure a quarterback would feel in the seconds between a time out and having to take the field with everything on the line. Most time outs are only thirty seconds long, so I was trying to capture that. Plus I was trying to show that he’d been under pressure his whole life to be a winning quarterback…not sure how I’ll rewrite/edit this, but I appreciate the advice.

      • It may need to be more than 100 words to make its point, but I do think it could use some trimming. Of course, that is only an opinion. Experimentation in editing always yields interesting results, at least in my experience. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Fourth And Goal Part I: Pressure | Jen’s Rambling Thoughts | Voice Week HQ

  3. Congratulations on the 200th! I really liked the piece, it was great at capturing the tension of the moment. I can’t imagine the stress a kid must feel, being born and bred for the game and having all his prior life hinging upon one throw (or maybe two if he’s lucky). On the word count, as Jubilare will tell you, you aren’t the only one in this challenge going over 😉 Write until writing is written, and all will be well. Best of luck and I can’t wait to read more!

  4. If you want to trim, cut some of the backstory. We need to see the action – that’s where the pressure is – and the last line gives us a lot of the stuff with the father in a much more interesting way. I’m looking forward to seeing the other voices – and whether he succeeds! – over the course of the week.

    • THanks, I’ve been looking at it and I feel like I fell into the telling and not showing trap. My usual problem is knowing the difference between too much backstory and not enough – usually erring on the side of too much.

  5. Keeping it close to the 100 words is definitely tough, but nothing that a stern bout of editing can’t fix! It would also help to cut out some of the wordiness that detracts from the rising tension.

    That being said, you’ve crafted a nice voice, anxious and young. Well done. 🙂

  6. Congrants on 200!
    I liked the story. I played football myself for more than a decade, quarterback in fact, so I can relate. However, if you did want to make it a bit shorter, there are a few lines that provide great amount of detail but don’t add to the story as much, so keep an out for those. I’m very interested to read the rest, good work.

    • Yeah I’m going to revise these next week and repost them…I can see where there needs to be some tightening up. I wouldn’t want to be a quarterback…way too much pressure…

  7. A great start, I agree with Jubilara and Jennifer, a little bit of trimming and more action will make this piece much better. 🙂

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