On a Saturday night when you were watching Texas beat Wyoming and you were whining like you had sprained an ovary, I, with no regard for my well being, personal safety or alcohol consumption-ability made my way out to the Abraham Lincoln High School Railsplitters’ brand new football field out on Coney Island.
Composed in my head in advance, I thought I knew precisely how this tale was going to turn out. The only thing I needed to finish this off was witnessing and reporting the exploits of one Ishaq Williams. Ishaq (seemingly pronounced in the very Un-Apple way of Ish-ick) is Lincoln’s four star defensive end and the state of New York’s most heralded recruit. Ishaq is a legit 6-6, 220 and has 30 offers from schools ranging from UCONN to USC. Given 18 months in a conditioning program, he will be a terror.
If things had gone like I thought they would, right about here, you’d be reading about Lincoln High School being about a ten minute walk from the site of Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest. And even with the giant curveball, I will still tell you that contest is the most amazing spectacle I have ever seen firsthand. For reference, things I’ve seen firsthand run the gamut from a wiener dog race to the 2006 Rose Bowl where Vince Young saved my life. Both those events are woefully underreported, by the way.
Umm. You got a little something on your face, son.
I was going to weave in a story from this past July’s competition. Two Japanese tourists fought through the crowd on Coney Island to get hot dog ordering help from me. Though a complete stranger, as a Texan, I must have looked like the most by-God-American of the crowd. We rehearsed a couple of times. I thought we were good. I was prepared to be proud, when they strode up and ordered “two cabbage dogs! Please!” Memo to self: Next time, just teach people to say “sauerkraut” not what it actually is. My bad.
As Lincoln High’s list of grads includes Mel Brooks, I was even prepared to tell you I paid to get into the game with “a s---load of dimes.” Also the alma mater of Neil Diamond, I was going to tell you that I didn’t go as a Solitary Man, but rather with the Barking Carnival East Coast Bureau’s Big Ten, SEC, Ivy League and Cheerleading Experts, too. This is no B-Grade production, just as you’d expect when covering the school that also produced Arthur Miller and the guy that plays Turtle on Entourage.
Abraham Lincoln is the big time, baby… just not for high school football purists.
Because, as prepared as we all were for what we thought we would see, it became evident real fast what the takeaway from the night was going to be.
Ishaq getting split out wide against corners fully a foot shorter than him? Nope. Not that.
Unheralded Lincoln quarterback Andrew Vital playing like Terrelle Pryor only with talent? Nope.
That quarters ended with anywhere from 2:11 to 1:34 left on the clock and the cheerleaders were wearing at least 4 different “uniforms.” Nope. Even those two capital offenses in Texas were completely overshadowed.
End of a quarter? Just put that anywhere, pal.
Because, on the track between the stands and the bench, Abraham Lincoln High School has replaced the requisite marching band with a DJ.
Not the flavor of the week at runningback for the Horns. Not a fumble producing machine. Not my childhood friend whose mom yelled at me when he told us DJ stood for Dumb Jerk. A DJ. Two turntables and a microphone. DJ.
The Marching Railsplitters from Abraham Lincoln High School.
I am never sure which one is really driving things, but, the older I get and the more time I spend in New York, the more the voice in my head turns into Hank Hill.
You can run the Air Raid.
You can run the Pistol.
You can run the Veer, the Wing T, the Wishbone or the Whatever the Hell the Horns are Trying To Do.
You can have a traditional band.
You can have a military band.
You can have no band.
But still. That DJ thing? That’s just not right. I’ve even asked three DJs. They all agree.
Yankees. Bless their hearts.
Another beautiful game night senselessly ruined by shenanigans.