by Andrew McQuitty

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When Life Is Just Not Fair (4 of 17)
E. Andrew McQuitty


A. ILLUS: the setting for the first Gotham Bowl in college football playoffs was a miserable afternoon at the old Polo Grounds of New York City. It was a bleak, frigid day in the late sixties which saw Baylor take the field against Utah State. There were only a few hundred people in the stands, and the band at halftime was the NY Dept. of Sanitation band in dingy coveralls. By the final play of this uneventful game, Baylor led 24-3 when John Bridgers, the Baylor coach, put Ronnie Stanley in at QB. Stanley was a senior who had lost his starting job to sophomore Don Trull. It would be the last play of Stanley's collegiate career, and he knew it. So he went in with high hopes. On his first snap, however, he was hammered by the Utah line (which included Merlin Olsen and Bill Munson). Stanley's fluttering pass was intercepted for Utah's only touchdown, and his leg was seriously broken. Try to imagine the aftermath for this young man. Here he was a senior, a former star bereft of his status, humiliated by demotion to the bench, forgotten by the coach, playing his last collegiate down on a gray, Arctic day in a far-off, dilapidated stadium before a few disinterested spectators and a garbage department band. Having failed miserably, he was now injured and in pain and abandoned to spend Christmas in a cast, lying in a lonely New York hospital room while his teammates celebrated their victory at the Peppermint Lounge.

B. Not many of us have experienced that exact situation, but most of us know intuitively how Ron Stanley must have felt. That's because we've all had tough breaks and felt the sting of life's injustice. We've all experienced the heartache which comes when our hopes are dashed, when things don't work out, when tragedy strikes. We all know what it is to ask with Ron Stanley under such circumstances, Why this? Why now? Why me?

C. Song, Why?: They say that into every life so ...

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