The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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Context- my dad moved from Tyrone to Phillipsburg in the sixth grade, a very tough time to switch schools. He became a linebacker at Phillipsburg High School while his best friends growing up remained at Tyrone and were on the football team there. They hadn’t seen each other since Bob moved and, as you can imagine, it was a tough reunion.

It’s October of 1979, and Bob Cerbara arrives at Tyrone Area High School with his mom, and he doesn’t know what to expect. He feels excited to get out on the field, but his nerves are running high. 

After parking the car, his mom asks, “Are you ready dear? Do you have your gear, pads, helmet, and everything?”

Bob gave a quick nod assuring he does. While he’s usually wound up and stoked to play, tonight feels different. As Bob began to warm up with his team, his mother made her way to the stands. However, this time he’s not wearing a Tyrone High School jersey, he’s representing Tyrone’s school rival, Phillipsburg Osceola High School.

“Hey man, how’re you feeling? You ready?” his teammate asks while tossing the ball to a coach.

Bob replies, “Yeah…I feel ok, just ready to play,” while he glanced to the other end of the field, watching the other team practice. Bob cannot seem to recognize anybody that he grew up with since he moved from Tyrone to Phillipsburg, but at the same time, it’s tough for him to tell with those big football helmets on.

The game begins with the coin toss. “Heads,” the referee says, “Phillipsburg will kick and Tyrone will receive this half. Let’s have a good game tonight, guys.” Before Bob goes on the field to start the game in his linebacker position on defense, his coach rallies every member of the team for some pre-game, rivalry motivation. It was hard for Bob to make out the coach’s entire speech, but the last message was heard loud and clear, “Give them hell out there!  Give it your all!”

Heads full of steam, both teams rush the field and take formation. Bob digs in with his tiger-like eyes, focused on the quarterback as if he was ready to pounce on his prey.

Bob looks up to ready himself for the play and locks eyes with the quarterback. For some reason, in his mind, this causes the world to pause. They stare at each other for what seemed like eternity, as they can both no longer can hear the crowd or anyone else in the stadium.

The quarterback was Steve Everhart, someone Bob is very familiar with. Bob learned the game of football with Steve, he used to go over to Steve’s house for dinner, Steve used to be his best friend. Bob’s eyes then peered to some of the other players on Tyrone’s team, and saw his closest friends, the ones he grew up with. All he can think about are those times playing football in the backyard with his best friends, feeling like they were going to live forever.

Now, that time is history, that time is forgotten, that time is gone. In order to shake this feeling of disbelief, Bob forces his head down, grits his teeth, and gets his mind ready for the play.

“Hike!” 

Friday Night Lights

Flag as Inappropriate
1980
Tyrone, PA

Context- my dad moved from Tyrone to Phillipsburg in the sixth grade, a very tough time to switch schools. He became a linebacker at Phillipsburg High School while his best friends growing up remained at Tyrone and were on the football team there. They hadn’t seen each other since Bob moved and, as you can imagine, it was a tough reunion.

Decade: 1980s
Rating:
Recorded by Stephen Cerbara on March 13, 2019
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