OFF THE PIPES (NaPlWriMo 2009 entry) By William E.

Spear

Two Plus Plus Productions LLC Clinton, New Jersey www.TwoPlusPlus.com Two.Plus.Plus.Productions@gmail.com

Off the Pipes Summary Off the Pipes is about Frank Curts, a quarterback in the Industrial Football League (I-F-L). Curts is an accomplished quarterback but has never won the league championship. The closest he got was early in his career but a last second field goal bounced off the goal posts – the pipes, as they are called – and was missed because the kicker was high from smoking crack. Curts will remember this forever. Many years later, Curts’ career is ending when he’s injured during a pre-season game. The team assumes he will retire and it immediately signs a young player to replace him. Curts announces he intends to rehabilitate his injury and play in the league again. The new quarterback rallies the team with a style of football that taps into the strengths and skills of every player. It is no longer Frank Curts and 25 other teammates. Unexpectedly, the new quarterback leads the team into the championship game. Curts watches the season from the sidelines. Privately, he tells friends he could still win any game at any time. During the championship, with the team losing, the new quarterback is hurt. Curts has one last chance to win the championship which has eluded him. He puts the team in a position to win and in comes the same field goal kicker who, in a crack induced stupor, missed years earlier. Despite Curts’ protests and claims of continued drug use, the kicker swears he gave up drugs long ago. But this is Curts’ last chance to win a championship and he does not want lose again. Does he think the kicker is clean enough to win the game? Will Frank Curts actually believe his teammate is Off the Pipes? Characters Jackson Dougherty Curts

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Narrator One

Sam Jackson, sportscaster. Kate Dougherty, sportscaster. Frank Curts, married to Denise, and father of Dana. Quarterback of Rivermen, he wants to win a championship before he retires. With Narrator Two, advances and sets up story.

Off the Pipes Narrator Two Denise

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Doctor Dana

Jacobs

Donnie Dave Tom Tony PA Announcer PA Announcer EMTs and EMT Waiters One,

With Narrator One, advances and sets up story. Denise Curts, married to Frank, lawyer. Her dream of retiring and traveling with Frank is shattered when he chooses to continue playing football. Doctor Jones, physician to Curts. Dana Curts, daughter of Frank and Denise. Aspires to coach professional football. Mr. Jacobs or Coach Jacobs. Owner and coach of Rivermen football team in the Industrial Football League. Current member of the Rivermen. Current member of the Rivermen. Thomas Daniels, ex-teammate of Curts. They are close friends. Tony Wideman, ex-teammate of Curts. They are close friends. One Two One Two, Three, and Four Marie.

Wait staff at Sotto

Fans Mad Dog Jenkins

Lightning quick player on Rivermen. Known for always winning in Ten Second Takedown.

Denise’s Colleagues Randy – Denise’s date Randy Stout (non-speaking) – Replacement for Frank Curts Fred Fred Gross, ex- and current teammate of Curts. Years ago he missed an easy kick while high and crack and cost Curts his only chance at a championship. Eric Eric Jenko. One of many ex-users Fred Gross has quietly get off and stay off drugs. He is a kicker for another team in the Industrial Football League.

Off the Pipes

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Beat 1)

Introductions

SFX:

WALLA-WALLA TO ESTABLISH FOOTBALL STADIUM. UNDER TO BED.

JACKSON:

Welcome to the Industrial Football League on a beautiful Thursday night in Roberts County. I’m Sam Jackson along with Kate Dougherty for the first game of the preseason. The matchup promises to be a high-flying affair between two of the league’s better teams.

DOUGHERTY:

That’s right, Sam. Last year’s champions, the Capitals, begin their title defense against the Rivermen. The Rivermen just missed the playoffs despite quarterback Frank Curts leading the league in passing yards and touchdowns.

SFX: JACKSON:

WALLA-WALLA OF FOOTBALL STADIUM UP. UNDER TO BED. Staying with Curts, the real story of the preseason was the news he released just as the Rivermen’s training camp began.

DOUGHERTY:

We caught up with him after a grueling workout earlier this week and spent a few minutes with him.

SFX:

WALLA-WALLA OF FOOTBALL STADIUM UP AND OUT.

Off the Pipes
Beat 2)

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Interview with Curts

DOUGHERTY:

Frank, how does it feel to start your sixteenth season with the Rivermen?

CURTS:

It’s exciting to be back in camp with guys I’ve played my entire career with. I’m looking forward to another great season.

DOUGHERTY: CURTS:

Anything different about this year? We have some new players on the team. The league’s gotten better than last year. And . . .

DOUGHERTY: CURTS:

. . . Go ahead. I’ve started thinking what I might do after football.

DOUGHERTY: CURTS:

(CAUGHT OFF GUARD) You mean retire? Don’t get me wrong. I can still win any game at any time.

DOUGHERTY: CURTS:

But retire? As in, quitting? It’s not quitting. It’s spending more time with my family.

DOUGHERTY: CURTS:

(SEEKS CLARIFICATION) But with no football. (CHANGES SUBJECT) I’ve got a team meeting to get to. (GOES OFF MIC) Maybe later . . .

DOUGHERTY:

That was Frank Curts, quarterback of the Rivermen, with the unexpected news of retiring at the end of the season.

Off the Pipes SFX: WALLA-WALLA TO ESTABLISH FOOTBALL STADIUM. UNDER TO BED.
Beat 3)

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Back to stadium

JACKSON:

That couldn’t have been more of a surprise, Kate. The I-F-L without Curts wouldn’t be the same.

DOUGHERTY:

We spoke a few days after the interview and he said the league had changed in ways he didn’t understand. Then he confirmed he was thinking of retiring.

JACKSON:

The Rivermen have four preseason games, nine regular season games, and one more if they make the championship. That’s alot of football before Curts retires.
Beat 4) The game begins

DOUGHERTY:

The Rivermen have already returned the opening kickoff to their own thirty-seven yardline. Standing in as quarterback, in his sixteenth and possibly final season, is Frank Curts.

JACKSON:

He takes the snap and fades back to throw one of his signature passes but the Capitals’ linemen swarm over him and tackle him for a huge loss. (WITH URGENCY) One of the Capitals jumps up and frantically waves to the sidelines. He grabs the

Off the Pipes referee and points to the pileup on the field and starts pushing players out of the way. DOUGHERTY: (MATCHES JACKSON’S URGENCY) The other referees are pulling players off the pile and the trainers from both teams run in. I can see one player face down not moving. Sam, can you tell who the injured player is? JACKSON: Too many people standing around him. They’re trying to get a stretcher underneath him . . . The players take a step back. The number of the injured player is . . . Frank Curts.
Beat 5)

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Narrators

MUSIC:

BRIDGE TO NARRATORS. ESTABLISH SERIOUS MOOD. UNDER TO BED.

NARRATOR ONE:

Frank Curts, star quarterback of the

Rivermen in the Industrial Football league, was indeed the injured player. Curts did not move as he was carted off the field and placed in an ambulance. NARRATOR TWO: For two days, he did not move in the

Intensive Care Unit of Roberts County Memorial Hospital. But on the third day, Sunday morning, with his wife, Denise, at his bedside, Frank regained consciousness.

Off the Pipes MUSIC: OUT.
Beat 6)

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In hospital

CURTS:

(GROGGILY) Owww. Have I got a headache. The rest of me’s not doing so well either.

DENISE:

(CALLS TO DOCTOR JONES) Doctor Jones, come in here.

CURTS: DENISE:

Do you have to yell? (ENTHUSIASTICALLY) You’re finally talking. We’ve been so worried about you.

DOCTOR:

(COMES ON MIC: LOUDLY) Well, well, well. Mr. Curts, our star pitcher.

CURTS: DOCTOR: CURTS:

Quarterback, Doc, quarterback. (STILL LOUDLY) You gave us quite a scare. Is there anybody in this hospital that speaks lower than a roar?
Beat 7) Dana and Frank

DANA: CURTS: DANA: CURTS:

(NORMALLY) Hi, Dad. My hero. How’re you feeling? Every part of me aches. Like a truck ran over me and then backed up to do it again.

DANA:

You’d have been better off if a truck had hit you.

CURTS:

Probably. Help me get up.

Off the Pipes
Beat 8)

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Medical intervention

DOCTOR: CURTS: DENISE: CURTS: DOCTOR: DENISE: DANA: CURTS: DANA: CURTS: DANA: DENISE: DOCTOR: CURTS:

(LOUDLY) Where are you going? Somewhere quieter. (ENTHUSIASTICALLY) You have to get well. I have to get earplugs and get back to the game. The game’s over. You’ve been unconscious for three days. They’re right, Dad. Three days? Three days. Hmmm. (BEAT) Who won? We got crushed. Thirty-seven to seven. The other team scored lots of home runs. It’s touchdowns. The other team scored lots of touchdowns. And alright, alright, I’ll rest another day and get ready for the next game.
Beat 9) Bad news for Frank

DANA: DENISE: DOCTOR: CURTIS:

I don’t know how to tell you this . . . You were hurt pretty badly. (LOUDLY) Real bad. (ANGRILY) First off, I’ve been injured before. Second, as long as I can throw, I’ll play. And third, Doc, you’ve got to lower your voice.

Off the Pipes DOCTOR: (NORMALLY) Okay, Mr. Curts, I’ll lower my voice but it doesn’t change the message. You have a concussion . . . CURTS: DENISE: DOCTOR: CURTS: DOCTOR: CURTS: DOCTOR: . . . Give me an aspirin. That won’t help. A broken leg . . . . . . I was practically on crutches any way. And . . . . . . Go ahead. Your arm was twisted behind you and popped out of the shoulder socket. All the tendons were pulled or torn. We operated on it while you were unconscious. CURTS: I have two arms. As long as my throwing arm wasn’t damaged. DOCTOR: DANA: It was your left arm. (BEAT) Dad, did you hear Doctor Jones? Your left shoulder got banged up and all the tendons were ripped apart. That’s your throwing arm. (BEAT) Dad?

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Beat 10) Back to Narrators

MUSIC:

BRIDGE TO NARRATORS. ESTABLISH SERIOUS MOOD. UNDER TO BED.

Off the Pipes NARRATOR TWO: Frank Curts’ future, like the muscles and

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tendons in his left shoulder, had been pulled and stretched to the breaking point. NARRATOR ONE: As Curts sat propped up in his bed, Doctor

Jones further detailed the damage and explained the surgery he would perform. NARRATOR TWO: But Curts heard little of what was said.

Scalpels and sutures meant nothing. Doctors, nurses, and technicians were meaningless. NARRATOR ONE: Accompanied by his wife, Denise, and his

daughter Dana, Frank went in for surgery. The traumatized inner workings of his shoulder were sorted out and a measure of order was restored. NARRATOR TWO: And in the evening, when the Rivermen’s star

quarterback, known for his long, powerful passes, awoke from anesthesia, he looked past his wife and daughter and asked:
Beat 11) Consciousness

MUSIC: CURTS: DOCTOR:

BED OUT. When can I play again, Doc? (LOUDLY) Play? I’m working on making you able to put on and button a suit jacket.

Off the Pipes

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Beat 12) Physical therapy

DENISE:

Doctor Jones has a physical therapy schedule that will get you back to normal in twelve to eighteen months.

CURTS:

A year? I’ll miss the entire season. I can’t wait a year to quarterback again. The team . . .

DANA:

(BITES CUE: GENTLY) Don’t worry about the team. Mr. Jacobs knows how badly you were hurt and that you had surgery today.

CURTS: DANA:

(ANGRILY) I didn’t want him to know about this. Dad, he owns the team and you’re on his payroll. He coaches the team and needs time to find a player to replace you.

CURTS: DENISE:

Replace me? Because of a sore shoulder? When you finish therapy you’ll have a sore shoulder. Right now you only have muscles and bone.

DOCTOR: CURTS:

And until you heal, I wouldn’t . . . Let me see that therapy schedule, I want to . . . (PAINFULLY) Owwww.

DOCTOR:

As I was about to say, until you heal a bit, I wouldn’t use your shoulder much.

Off the Pipes

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Beat 13) Mr. Jacobs, owner of the Rivermen

JACOBS:

(OFF MIC: LOUDLY) Is he awake? Can I talk with him?

CURTS: JACOBS: CURTS:

I don’t want him to see . . . (ON MIC: LOUDLY) Well, Frank, how’re you feeling? (FEIGNS UPBEAT DEMEANOR) A few weeks of rest and I’ll be ready to play.

JACOBS:

From what I see, it looks like it’ll take few weeks just to get all the tape and gauze off you.

CURTS:

You mean this? It’s only superficial. Doc has a rehab schedule that’ll have me back on the field in weeks.

DOCTOR: DENISE: JACOBS: CURTS:

Months. If ever. Doc Jones is the best. Let him get you well. In the mean time, I could watch film of the other teams and help us get ready to play.

JACOBS:

Help yourself by taking care of your shoulder. The team will take care of itself.
Beat 14) Press conference

DANA:

You were talking about having the press conference tomorrow, Mr. Jacobs, late Monday morning.

Off the Pipes JACOBS: That’s right. The whole town’s been waiting for news about you, Frank. We’ve gotten over a thousand letters since your injury. CURTS: JACOBS: A thousand letters? Mostly well wishes but a few blamed you for our loss. CURTS: JACOBS: But I only played one down. You know how fans are. One day they love you and the next day they want another guy to take your

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place. (EXPECTING NEGATIVE REACTION) Some of them even want you to have a long, healthy . . . retirement.
Beat 15) Retirement?

CURTS: JACOBS:

Retirement? I’m not going anywhere. A lot of people heard or read about your interview with Kate Jackson. You said you were thinking about retiring.

CURTS:

“Thinking” about retiring is not the same as “actually” retiring.

DENISE: CURTS:

I thought you were serious about quitting. I’m serious about considering what I’ll do when I quit.

DENISE:

But I was making plans to travel and do all the things we’ve talked about.

Off the Pipes CURTS: We are going to do those things.

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Beat 16) Retirement hammer

DENISE:

(WITH HEAT) When Frank? After a couple more concussions and you don’t recognize me? After a few more broken legs and you’re permanently in a wheelchair? When do our lives start, Frank?

CURTS:

(MATCHES HER INTENSITY) When I win a championship. The only dream I’ve ever had is to throw the winning pass as time runs out. When I do that I’ll stop.

DENISE:

Then find someone else to pick up the broken pieces of your dream and your body the next time you get hurt.

SFX:

GO OFF MIC: DENISE’S HEELS ON HOSPITAL TIMES. OFF MIC: HOSPITAL DOOR SLAMS. “You’ll want to talk about it”

JACOBS:

(BEAT) I’m sure the two of you will want to talk about this in private. Frank, the press conference is tomorrow morning at ten o-clock. It’s right here in the hospital in the library. You don’t have to do a thing except show up. Everything’s been pre-arranged.
Beat 17) Narrators

MUSIC:

ESTABLISH CONTEMPLATIVE MOOD. UNDER TO BED.

Off the Pipes NARRATOR ONE: Frank was emotionally torn over Denise more

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than he was physically hurt from his shoulder. NARRATOR TWO: He and Denise had planned to travel when his

playing days were finished. To her, this was a perfect opportunity to fulfill their dreams. NARRATOR ONE: But to him, retiring now meant unfinished

business later. Discarding his championship dream, even to travel with Denise, translated into quitting. His injuries throbbed. NARRATOR TWO: But disappointing Denise was the consequence

of returning to football. For years they supported each other’s careers. She argued court cases while he played football. The thought of breaking his promise made his heart and conscious ache. NARRATOR ONE: For Frank, with fresh lacerations from

Denise’s verbal whipping, the nighttime was uncomfortable. But not as uncomfortable as the looming press conference. At two o-clock in the morning, he discreetly called an old friend. Approximately thirty minutes later, a box arrived containing a distraction from his mental and emotional ailments.

Off the Pipes NARRATOR TWO: When Dana arrived at eight, she found her

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father staring blankly at the television. MUSIC: CONTEMPLATIVE MOOD: OUT.
Beat 18) A new pain – the past

DANA: CURTS: DANA: CURTS: DANA:

Dad? (BEAT) Dad. (BEAT: SNAPS ANGRILY) Dad. When’d you come in? How’d you get that? A friend. Some friend. Give me that; you don’t need it any more.

CURTS: DANA:

It’s just getting good. Alright, whatever. Don’t blame me for what happens.

CURTS: DANA:

Turn it up. Sure. It’ll drown out my screaming while I bang my head on the floor.

CURTS:

Turn it up first.
Beat 19) The past

SFX:

WALLA-WALLA: ESTABLISH FOOTBALL CHEERS. UNDER TO BED.

JACKSON:

(COMES ON MIC: . . . It all comes down to this. Frank Curts has put the Rivermen in a position to win the Industrial Football League championship.

SFX:

WALLA-WALLA: FOOTBALL CHEERS.

Off the Pipes JACKSON: If the Rivermen’s field goal kicker makes this thirty-two yard kick they win the championship. The kicker, Fred Gross, has had a very uneven season. Early on he kicked a sixty-two yarder to beat the Forge. Then the next week he missed an easy one from twenty-two yards that would’ve beaten the Silos. SFX: JACKSON: WALLA-WALLA: CHEERS FOR FIELD GOAL KICKER.

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Gross trots onto the field almost stumbling along the way. He lines up the kick and nearly trips. The crowd is encouraging his every move.

SFX: JACKSON:

WALLA-WALLA: CHEERS FOR FIELD GOAL KICKER. Curts will be the holder and calls out the signals. It’s a perfect snap. Curts catches the ball, places it down, and spins the seam toward the goalpost. Gross moves toward the ball and he . . . (WITH URGENCY) he falls onto Curts who staggers to his feet with the ball and looks to throw it.

SFX: JACKSON:

WALLA-WALLA: CHEERS FOR RIVERMEN. Curts starts running toward the goal line. He’s at the fifteen, the ten . . . there are blockers in front of him. He’s at the five and he’s . . .

Off the Pipes pulled down at the two. The game’s over on a missed field goal and the Rivermen lose. SFX: WALLA-WALLA: DISAPPOINTMENT RIVERMEN LOSING. UNDER AND OUT.

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Beat 20) Back to the present

CURTS: DANA: CURTS: DANA: CURTS: DANA:

Play it again. Get ready for your press conference. I want to see it again. What jacket do you want to wear? I said I want to watch . . . (BITES CUE: HARSHLY) Mom says hello. (NORMALLY) She hopes you’re retiring.

CURTS: DANA:

(HOPELESSLY) What am I going to tell her? That’s up to you. But I expect you to do what you’ve always taught me.

CURTS: DANA:

What did I teach you? Always, always, always have a dream. And chase it like a mad man. Or, a mad woman.

CURTS: DANA:

What dream are you chasing, mad woman? I’ll tell you later. For now, you have a press conference in an hour.
Beat 21) Narrators

MUSIC:

ESTABLISH SEGUE: UNDER TO BED.

Off the Pipes NARRATOR ONE:

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Dana went to the hospital library to prepare

for the press conference and talk with her mother. Neither were tasks she looked forward to. NARRATOR TWO: Frank dressed with assistance from the

nurses. In pajamas cut to get over the cast on his leg and a robe covering his bandaged left shoulder, he was wheelchaired into the elevator for the ride to the lobby. NARRATOR ONE: When the elevator door opened, Mr. Jacobs,

the team owner, and Dana greeted him. As they walked through a hallway, they passed a table of champagne and glasses. MUSIC: SEGUE: OUT.
Beat 22) Just before the press conference

CURTS: JACOBS: CURTS: JACOBS:

What’s all this? To mark the occasion. I don’t understand. The team wanted to recognize everything you’ve done.

CURTS: JACOBS: DANA: CURTS:

And if I still want to play? I’m sure you’ll make the right decision. The press conference is in here, Dad. Is your Mom here?

Off the Pipes

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Beat 23) Present times

DANA:

Hey, Dad. Some of the guys from the team are here.

DONNIE: DAVE:

Hey, Frankie. How you? Curts you look lousy. You’d think while the Docs are putting you back together they’d make you easier on the eyes.

CURTS:

This from someone whose face causes small children to cry and cel phone calls to break up.

DONNIE:

By the way, keep it short today, Frankie. I want to enjoy some bubbly, right Mr. J.?

JACOBS: DANA:

Special day fellows. No rules. The press conference is through those doors. It starts in a minute.

DAVE: DONNIE: DAVE: DONNIE: CURTS: DONNIE: DAVE:

Break a leg, Curts. He already broke his leg. Then break the other leg. What do I know? Just stop talking. You’re embarrassing. See you guys inside. Okay, Frankie. Get your money back on that face job.
Beat 24) Back to Frank and Dana

JACOBS:

If you’ll push the wheelchair, Dana, I’ll get the door.

Off the Pipes DANA: JACOBS: Sure thing, Mr. Jacobs.

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One last thing, Frank. There’s a lot of people in there. We’re counting on you.

DANA CURTS:

Ready, Dad? So where is your Mom?
Beat 25) The past

TOM:

Hello, Frank. Good morning, Mr. Jacobs, Miss Dana.

JACOBS: DANA: CURTS:

Good morning, Thomas. Good morning, Mr. Daniels. Tom? “Handsome Tom” Daniels? I haven’t seen you since you retired.

TOM:

Five years ago this month. I heard you were speaking today and didn’t want to miss it. Do you remember the game against the Orchard? The one they were beating us badly?

CURTS:

We couldn’t do anything against them until the last minute. Suddenly, I had time to throw.

TOM:

You didn’t just throw. You threw tall, arching passes.

CURTS:

And you made some beautiful catches. What did they start calling us after we won?

TOM:

I’m not sure. But it sounded like Something, Something, and Something.

Off the Pipes CURTS: It was not Something, Something, and Something. It was . . . TONY: (BITES CUE) It was High, Wide, and Handsome. Hello, men. CURTS: TOM: (WITH RESPECT) Tony Wideman. The “Wide” in High, Wide, and Handsome. How are you? TONY:

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Much better now that I am talking with the two of you.

CURTS:

Don’t tell me you’re here for the press conference.

TONY:

I’m here to make sure you don’t talk so long that the press misses its deadlines.

TOM: CURTS: TONY: TOM: CURTS:

You never did meet a microphone you didn’t like. What are you guys doing afterwards. Whatever you want. I’m in. Then it’s lunch and the return of High, Wide, and Handsome.
Beat 26) Again, back to Frank and Dana

DANA: CURTS:

Are you ready, Dad? Let’s go.

Off the Pipes

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Beat 27) Fielding questions

SFX:

COME ON MIC: WALLA-WALLA OF REPORTERS CALLING OUT TO HIM.

REPORTERS:

“Frank, over here.” “How’s your leg?” “What caused the concussion?” “Any other injuries?” “Are you really retiring?”

JACOBS:

(OVER WALLA-WALLA) Hold on a minute, fellas. Let him get comfortable before you begin with your barrage.

SFX: JACOBS: CURTS: JACOBS: SFX:

WALLA-WALLA: OUT. That’s better. You okay, Frank? Let it rip. You heard him. Let it . . . BITE CUE: WALLA-WALLA OF REPORTERS CALLING OUT TO CURTS.

REPORTERS:

“Frank, over here.” “How’s your leg?” “What caused the concussion?” “Any other injuries?” “Are you really retiring?”

CURTS: JACOBS: CURTS: JACOBS:

Broken, a hit to the head, and nothing. I think there were four questions. No comment. (BEAT) Well, uh, before he shares his news, we have some, too. Due to Frank’s injury, the Rivermen have signed Randy Stout to play

Off the Pipes quarterback. His four years at Roberts County Institute of Technology were spectacular and he was twice voted Most Valuable Player in the county. With great pride, the Rivermen introduce Randy as their new quarterback. Randy, why don’t you say a few words.

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Beat 28) Frank’s being replaced

MUSIC:

UP AND ESTABLISH: CHURNING AND ROILING. UNDER TO BED.

NARRATOR ONE:

So Frank Curts was being replaced after

sixteen seasons as the quarterback of the Rivermen. Sixteen years of broiling under the late summer sun and freezing in December snow. NARRATOR TWO: Sixteen seasons of thrilling crowds with

impossible victories and breaking spirits with improbable losses. He had taken the Rivermen and their fans through every conceivable emotion except one – he had not experienced the exhilaration of winning championship. NARRATOR ONE: And today was tailor-made for him to step

aside for the next Rivermen’s quarterback to lead the quest for victory. Meanwhile, his prearranged retirement merely needed his stamp of concurrence to make it official.

Off the Pipes NARRATOR TWO: All he had to do was step up to the

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microphone and announce that his career was over. Offer his appreciation and respect to the team for letting him play for sixteen seasons. NARRATOR ONE: All he had to do was step up to the

microphone and . . .
Beat 29) Frank tries to walk . . .

MUSIC: JACOBS:

OUT. Thank you very much, Randy. As you all know, Frank Curts was hurt pretty bad last weekend. There’s been a lot of people talking about his health. We’ve gotten a thousand letters asking how he’s doing. We though the best way to answer those questions would be to have Frank speak for himself and his future. He can’t quite walk yet so Dana if you would . . .

CURTS: JACOBS: DANA: CURTS: JACOBS: DANA:

(BITES CUE: GRIMLY) I can walk. (UNBELIEVING) Since when? Let me push you in your wheelchair. Some other day. You haven’t moved your legs since the game. Then just stand up and I’ll bring you the microphone.

CURTS:

Deal.

Off the Pipes JACOBS: CURTS: TONY: CURTS: TOM: CURTS: DANA: CURTS: TONY: CURTS: But how? Like this . . . (BEAT) Steady, steady. Frank, do you need a hand? No, I can do this. . . . Jeez, it hurts. Frank, let me . . . (BITES CUE: HARD) NO! Dad? (GENTLY) I’m okay but I can’t get up. Can’t? (THROUGH PAIN) I can’t . . . stand up . . . today.

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Beat 30) . . . But speaks instead

DANA: CURTS:

Here’s the microphone. Thanks. I’d like to start by offering my appreciation to Mr. Jacobs for having me on the Rivermen’s football team for the past 15 years. I applaud you.

SFX: CURTS:

WARM APPLAUSE. I would also like to thank my teammates, past and present, for being here today. There is no finer group of men anywhere.

SFX: CURTS:

WARMER APPLAUSE AND CHEERS. And, most importantly, I thank my wife, Denise, and daughter, Dana, for their support and

Off the Pipes encouragement this entire time. If I could ask Denise to come up here . . . Denise? DANA: She’s not here, Dad. She left a message for you at home. CURTS: DANA: CURTS: How did she know what I’d do? Same way I did. Anyway, I started this season talking about what I might do after playing football. When I got

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hurt, it seemed “after football” wanted to arrive sooner than expected. But I spent most of last night watching highlights of my time in the league and remembering lots of faces. DAVE: I still think you should get yours fixed while you’re in here. ALL: CURTS: (LAUGHTER) My face may be beyond repair but my determination has been restored. I came into the league to win a championship and I have not given up that goal. I will play again in the Industrial Football League.
Beat 31) Reactions

SFX:

BITE CUE: ENTHUSIASTIC CHEERS AND APPLAUSE UNDER AND OUT. WALLA-WALLA OF REPORTERS CALLING OUT TO CURTS.

Off the Pipes REPORTERS: “Back here, Frank.” “Over here, over here.” “About the concussion?” JACKSON: CURTS: JACKSON: Frank, Frank. Go ahead, Sam. Will your concussion cause any problems playing again? DANA: CURTS: DANA: CURTS: He’s more stubborn. Your Mom must’ve paid you to say that. That’s one of my own. Stubborn is what Dana calls it. Maybe determined is a more positive word. I want to walk away on my own terms. By the way, where’s your partner? DAUGHERTY: Over here. Do you have a timeline for returning to the team. CURTS: With them signing Randy, I’ll probably be fired from the Rivermen . . . JACOBS:

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(BITES CUE) Hold on. Nobody’s getting fired while they’re lying in the hospital.

CURTS:

I need to speak with my doctor about my rehab. After we’ve talked, I’ll release a statement. I don’t see Johnny anywhere, either.

DAUGHERTY:

He’s getting ready to re-record the league tribute.

Off the Pipes JACKSON: He looked like he was coming down with something so he stayed home.

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Beat 32) Wrapping up the press conference

JACOBS:

Are there any other questions about the Rivermen or Frank?

REPORTERS:

“Nothing here.” “I’m good.” “Should just make my deadline.”

JACOBS:

I want to thank everyone for coming out today. Our next preseason game is against the Lumber.

DONNIE: DAVE:

Are we still having the bubbly? You are so painful to be around. The champagne was for Frank’s retirement.

DONNIE: CURTS:

But he didn’t retire. We’ll keep it on ice for something really big.
Beat 33) Death of Johnny Parks

SFX: JACOBS: DANA:

BITE CUE: LOUDLY ON: AMBULANCE SIREN. What’s the disturbance about? An ambulance pulled into the hospital with a couple of police cars behind it.

SFX: EMTS:

COME ON MIC: EMERGENCY MEDICAL TECHNICIANS. “Clear the hallway.” “What’s his blood pressure?” “Sixty over forty and falling.” “Come on, clear the hallway.”

DANA:

(CALLS TO EMTS) Who’s on the stretcher?

Off the Pipes EMT ONE: Johnny Parks.

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Beat 34) Homage

MUSIC:

UP AND ESTABLISH: FUNEREAL AND RESPECTFUL. UNDER TO BED.

NARRATOR TWO:

The ambulance, with police escort, delivered

Johnny Parks to the hospital. NARRATOR ONE: He had announced almost every memorable

sporting event in Roberts County over the last fifty years. His voice was of such singular quality that he was known as “The Pipes.” NARRATOR TWO: He was simultaneously authoritative of

sports and its nuances and yet accessible to casual listeners. He recognized the timelessness of moments such as a cancer survivor pitching a perfect game or a scrawny horse giving a community hope. NARRATOR ONE: He was a gifted storyteller whose announcing

skills were appreciated by fans and novices. But now, his voice was silenced. And the press, previously congregated around Frank Curts, feverishly cranked out coverage on the passing of Johnny Parks.
Beat 35) Implication’s of Johnny’s death

MUSIC:

FUNEREAL AND RESPECTFUL: OUT.

Off the Pipes SFX:

29

WALLA-WALLA: FRENZY OF NEWS COVERAGE FOR DEATH OF JOHNNY PARKS.

REPORTERS:

“Never had a chance according to the E-MT’s.” “His doctor confirmed his health had been failing.” “Something about re-recording a tribute for the I-F-L.” “We’ll catch up with you later, Frank.”

SFX:

WALLA-WALLA: FRENZY OF NEWS COVERAGE FOR DEATH OF JOHNNY PARKS: UNDER AND OUT.

TOM:

Tough day for the league. Johnny Parks dies and you don’t retire.

CURTS:

Thanks, Tom. I’ll go back and tell Mr. Jacobs I changed my mind.

TONY:

You got a serious break by not retiring today, Frank.

CURTS:

(SARCASTICALLY) Oh, sure. Today’s been the luckiest day of my life. Let me count the ways. First, Jacobs is sore I didn’t retire. Second, Denise is angry I didn’t retire. And, third, I guaranteed I’d get back in the league and I may not walk again.

TOM: TONY:

You are an overachiever. And talking before thinking has always been a skill of yours.

Off the Pipes

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Beat 36) Unseen realities

CURTS: TONY:

So tell me how I’m lucky. Jacobs is getting ready for the next game. He may be sore for now, but he’s more concerned about getting his new quarterback ready for the season.

TOM:

The league will be focused on memorializing Johnny Parks and his work for the past fifty years.

CURTS: TOM: TONY: TOM:

Which means what to me? You can put things back together in the shadows. And away from the spotlight. Just make sure “putting things back together” includes Denise.

TONY:

Don’t forget her. It will be difficult to win if she doesn’t understand why you’re doing this.

TOM:

That’s priority number one.
Beat 37) Denise is gone

DANA:

She’s not home. What?

CURTS, TOM, AND TONY: CURTS: DANA:

How do you know? She called and said she packed a few bags. She’s staying with friends for a while.

CURTS: DANA:

Who friends? Didn’t say.

Off the Pipes CURTS: DANA: CURTS: DANA: Where friends? Didn’t say. Why friends? You know why.

31

Beat 38) Impact on comeback

CURTS: TOM:

I’ll never get back in the league. That concussion must’ve been more severe than the doctor realized.

TONY:

Either that or he broke his common sense along with his leg.

CURTS:

Didn’t the two of you tell me I couldn’t win without including Denise?

TOM: TONY: TOM:

We said make her understand. And it doesn’t have to be this exact minute. Let the opportunity present itself. In the meantime, I have to head out.

TONY: TOM: TONY:

Same for me but get started on your rehab. And keep us informed on your progress. And let’s have lunch soon. Here’s to the return of High, Wide, and Handsome.
Beat 39) Dana’s dream chasing

NARRATOR ONE:

Frank stayed in Roberts County Memorial but

his physical therapy would have to wait. The first order of business was looking forward to

Off the Pipes watching the Rivermen’s new quarterback flail helplessly in their next game. NARRATOR TWO: Dana left Tuesday morning and was traveling

32

away from the team but she called Frank every day to check on his progress. NARRATOR ONE: On the few occasions she was in Roberts

County to see her father, she noted the progress he was making with his rehab. For his part, he asked her where she’d been and what she was doing. She’s laugh and say, “Chasing dreams like a mad woman.” NARRATOR TWO: Although Frank professed ignorance of Dana’s

dreams, she’d told him many times of her desire to coach in the I-F-L. And many times he had said she’d never coach because she hadn’t played professionally. NARRATOR ONE: Years ago, she offered to play for the

Rivermen at no pay but the team’s owner and coach, Mr. Jacobs, declined. She countered with an offer to scout for the team and was quietly hired. Although the rest of the team thought she was in marketing, she was evaluating talent. NARRATOR TWO: On one scouting trip several hundred miles

from the team, she stumbled upon a previously

Off the Pipes unimaginable circumstance – women’s professional football. She introduced herself to a league official, asked for a tryout, and met with a

33

couple of teams. Before the evening was done, she was hired. NARRATOR ONE: For fourteen Tuesday evenings, three and one

half hours away from Roberts County, she was a running back for the Drillers of the Mountain Football League. During four weeks of practice, three preseason games, and seven regular season games, she blocked, ran, and tackled. And for fourteen Wednesdays, she ached real football aches while driving back to Roberts County. When the season was done, she offered to play another year. NARRATOR TWO: While she played, she maintained her

scouting duties with the Rivermen. But the bruises she earned playing for the Drillers sharpened her scouting with the Rivermen. Her game experience gave her insight to see valuable skills when reviewing obscure or lightly regarded Roberts County players. She recommended them to Mr. Jacobs . . . and they succeeded. Just as many

Off the Pipes times she encouraged him to pass, or decline, on “can’t miss” prospects who ultimately did miss. NARRATOR ONE:

34

And her scouting for the Rivermen helped the

Drillers prepared for their opponents. Several games were won due to Dana’s preparation and play calling. As a result, several game balls were given to her in appreciation. NARRATOR TWO: In the last regular season game of her

second year, with the team preparing for the league championship, some familiar voices called to her as she walked off the field.
Beat 40) Found out!

ALL: FANS:

(WALLA-WALLA OF CHEERING FANS) “Great game.” “Wicked impressive.” “Let’s go, Drillers.” “Good luck in the championship.”

DONNIE: DAVE: DANA: DONNIE: DAVE:

(CALLS TO DANA) Dana? Dana Curts? Is that you? (SINKING FEELING) Oh, no. What are you doing? Donnie, you really are painful to be around. She’s walking off a football field in pads, jersey, pants, and spikes and carrying her helmet. What do you think she’s doing here, washing cars?

Off the Pipes DONNIE: DAVE: DANA: DONNIE: I meant, what is she doing playing football? Exactly, what are you doing playing football? Why are you guys here? My family lives fifteen minutes from here. We heard there was a game tonight so we came over. DAVE: You haven’t answered our question: What are you doing playing football here? DANA: DAVE: I’m trying to get a coaching job in the I-F-L. It’s tough to get hired as a coach without playing experience. DONNIE:

35

That’s why she’s playing. Now who’s painful to be around?

DANA:

A couple of years ago I asked Mr. Jacobs for a coaching job but he said the same thing. Then I asked him to scout for the team and he said okay.

DAVE: DANA: DONNIE: DANA:

You’ve been scouting for us? I signed Jennings and McCoy. (IMPRESSED) Good eye. Last year I was scouting new players and found about the Mountain Football League. I asked for a tryout and the Drillers took me on as a running back. I block more than I run but I’ve caught some passes and scored a few touchdowns.

DONNIE:

Your Dad must be really proud.

Off the Pipes DANA: He doesn’t know and Mr. Jacobs doesn’t know. Nobody knows . . . except you. DAVE: DANA: DAVE: DANA: You have to tell your Dad. (PUSHES BACK HARD) No. I’m not telling anyone. But he’ll support you. When the season’s over, maybe I’ll tell him and Mr. Jacobs. DAVE: DONNIE: Then we’ll have to be the ones to . . . (BITES CUE) . . . Respect you decision. We won’t tell your Dad or Mr. Jacobs. DANA: DAVE: DONNIE: Thank you so much. But . . . (BITES CUE) Glad to help. Break a leg in the championship game. DANA:

36

So long guys. (GO OFF MIC: CALLS TO THEM) See you back in Roberts County.
Beat 41) Supporting her dream

DAVE:

It’s difficult for me to even think this, let alone say it, but I’ll try. You’re planning something.

DONNIE: DAVE: DONNIE:

Yes. What? The Rivermen will be here to cheer for Dana and her team in the championship.

Off the Pipes DAVE: DONNIE: You said we wouldn’t tell anyone. Correction; I said we wouldn’t tell her Dad or Mr. Jacobs. DAVE: DONNIE: DAVE: So everyone else is fair game? Correct. You’re brilliant. You really are brilliant. I’ll

37

bet your whole “stupid” thing is just a disguise. DONNIE: Not really.
Beat 42) Narrators

MUSIC:

UP AND ESTABLISH: SUPPORT RE-PLOT AND BUILD FOR CHAMPIONSHIP. UNDER TO BED.

NARRATOR TWO:

Dana’s preparation for the Drillers’

championship game was balanced with her scouting work for the Rivermen. Players were critiqued, evaluated, and assessed and the results were sent to Mr. Jacobs. NARRATOR ONE: But the championship took on added

importance. Two extra practices were held and Dana participated in each. NARRATOR TWO: Finally, the game day arrived. On the second

Tuesday in November, the audience was a bit larger and a lot louder due to a cheering section of players from the Rivermen. And the game provided plenty of reasons to cheer.

Off the Pipes

38

Beat 43) Cheering for Dana

MUSIC: ALL:

CHAMPIONSHIP BED: OUT. (WALLA-WALLA OF FOOTBALL CHEERS.)

RIVERMEN: “Go Drillers.” “Come on, Dana.” “Let’s go, Drillers.” PA ANNOUNCER ONE: The Drillers have driven the length of

the field in less than two minutes and stand seven yards from winning the championship. PA ANNOUNCER TWO: The Drillers’ quarterback drops back to

throw a pass and the rush is on. She’s going to be tackled to end the game . . . PA ANNOUNCER ONE: (BITES CUE) . . . But Dana Curts throws

a crushing block. The Drillers’ quarterback gets free and launches a pass towards the end zone and it’s . . . CAUGHT FOR A TOUCHDOWN! The Drillers win the game! PA ANNOUNCER TWO: The Drillers are the champions of the

Mountain Football League. ALL: (WALLA-WALLA OF WILDLY ENTHUSIASTIC CHEERS)

RIVERMEN: “Go Dana, go Dana.” “Go Dana, go Dana.” (BED: WALLA-WALLA OF CHEERS) DAVE: Here she comes. (CALLS TO DANA) Dana, over here.

RIVERMEN: (MORE CHEERS) DANA: (AMUSED) You’re back?

Off the Pipes DONNIE: DAVE: We’re cheering on our favorite Driller. You said we couldn’t tell your Dad or Mr. Jacobs so we told the team. Great, great game. That block you threw on the final play left a bruise on me. DONNIE: DANA: DAVE: DANA: Let us buy you dinner. I was going to grab a bite with the team. Then let our team buy dinner for your team. They’d like that. A lot of them follow the Rivermen. Maybe they have some tips on how to play better.

39

RIVERMEN: (LAUGH) Dana! Dana! Dana! Dana! (CHEERS: UNDER TO BED)
Beat 44) Narrators

NARRATOR TWO:

The November championship was a privately

exhilarating but publicly quiet time for Dana. Not only did she make the block which allowed her quarterback to throw the winning pass, she called most of the offensive plays. But neither her play or play calling, nor the resulting the victory, were shared with her parents. NARRATOR ONE: Further, the glow of her championship

quickly began to dim. In December, her father’s team, the Rivermen, missed the playoffs for the

Off the Pipes second year in a row. He played well but critics began talking about a need for him to retire. NARRATOR TWO: In the new year, her scouting duties began

40

taking her farther away from the team and for longer periods of time. Three-day trips became five-day trips. Traveling once or twice a month became three, four, or more times a month. NARRATOR ONE: At the end of June, after a grueling pace of

seventeen trips in twenty-one weeks and only four weeks before the Drillers would begin practicing for their season, she collapsed in her parents’ home and slept for two days. When she woke up, she requested a meeting with Mr. Jacobs.
Beat 45) With Mr. Jacobs

DANA: JACOBS:

Thanks for meeting with me, Mr. Jacobs. Welcome back, Marathon Woman. We’ve kept you busy this year.

DANA: JACOBS:

Have you received all my reports? Like clockwork. I always know its Tuesday because that’s when your reports come in.

DANA: JACOBS:

Did you see the one about Fred Gross, the kicker? Funny coincidence. We had a kicker named Gross a few years ago. Didn’t work out so well.

DANA:

No coincidence. It’s the same guy.

Off the Pipes JACOBS: He cost us a championship. Missed an easy kick because he was high on something called chipped beef or broken glass. DANA: He was smoking crack and I know all about the championship. To this day, my Dad still refuses to say his name. JACOBS: Despite that guy, your Dad almost won that game for us. He started running at the fifteen yard line and at the two he was finally dragged down. But it took the entire team to stop him. DANA: Gross has cleaned up his life. He’s been off drugs for ten years and he runs a youth sports program that specializes in field goal kicking. JACOBS: That’s all well and fine but we don’t run a charity here. DANA: He’s been keeping himself in great shape and his leg’s still strong. He was kicking them through the pipes from seventy yards out the day I saw him. JACOBS:

41

I’ll look at your report . . . as a favor to you. Was there anything else?

Off the Pipes

42

Beat 46) Dana’s plan

DANA:

I want to talk with you about my scouting work for the team. There’s something else that has come up.

JACOBS:

If you are looking for more money, just ask. You are our best scout.

DANA: JACOBS:

I have an offer from another team. (SURPRISED) Would you work for another I-F-L club?

DANA:

It’s a different team in another league. They are the Drillers in the Mountain Football League.

JACOBS:

I’ve never heard of them but I’ll make you a Senior Scout and double your salary.

DANA: JACOBS:

I worked with them last year. How about the title of Vice President of Scouting Operations?

DANA: JACOBS:

They want me to start again next month. I give up, name your price. What did they offer you?

DANA: JACOBS:

I’m a running back. I can’t have my Vice President of Scouting Operations playing running back.

DANA:

I want to split my time between the Drillers and the Rivermen. Let me scout and be here on game

Off the Pipes day and the rest of my time will be with the Drillers. JACOBS: DANA: JACOBS: This is about coaching, isn’t it? Yes, sir. It’s good to be young. Your Dad must be proud of you. DANA: He doesn’t know and I was trying to keep it from him. JACOBS: I don’t pretend to know how you get along with your Dad but you should consider telling him about this. DANA: JACOBS: DANA:

43

I will, when the time is right. You have my word. Deal. Is there anything you need? I’m looking for a better. The one I have now is life or death at any moment.

JACOBS:

There are some dealers around the county that might be able to help.

DANA: JACOBS:

Used will be fine. Nothing doing. The Drillers’ running back deserves to go in style. New car style. Make the Rivermen proud.
Beat 47) Narrators

MUSIC:

UP AND ESTABLISH: DRAWN OUT DRAMA. UNDER TO BED.

Off the Pipes NARRATOR ONE: So began Dana’s long, hot summer as a

44

running back for the Drillers and scout for the Rivermen. July’s heat melted into August’s humidity. NARRATOR TWO: Four weeks of practice turned into three

pre-season games with two wins and one loss. The first regular season game, as defending Mountain Football League champions, was a resounding win. NARRATOR ONE: But two days later was when her father,

Frank Curts, was badly injured in a pre-season game with the Rivermen of the Industrial Football League. For two days he was unconscious at Roberts County Memorial Hospital. NARRATOR TWO: When he regained consciousness, Dana,

Denise, and Doctor Jones explained the extent of his injuries. Doctor Jones hinted at the potentially career-ending nature of the damage to his shoulder. NARRATOR ONE: A press conference was held to announce his

physical condition. When his turn came to speak, and with his family, friends, teammates, and doctor expecting him to announce his retirement, Dana watched as he confounded everyone by

Off the Pipes declaring his intent to play again in the Industrial Football League. NARRATOR TWO: Teammates cheers and fans applauded, but

45

others were less joyous. His wife, Denise, who had planned for years to travel after retiring from their respective careers, packed her bags and moved out. NARRATOR ONE: Mr. Jacobs, owner of the Rivermen, would

have to resolve the problem of managing Frank’s return in midseason after signing a flashy young quarterback. And Dana, after practically no sleep during the preceding four days, drove to the Drillers’ field for their second game. NARRATOR TWO: Her performance on the field reflected her

lack of sleep and distracted mental condition. The team played poorly and they lost convincingly. Compounding the losses were the bruises she got from bigger, stronger opponents. NARRATOR ONE: She drove through the night to get back to

Roberts County and collapsed in her father’s house. Her bruises worsened the next day when she visited her father in the hospital. MUSIC: DRAWN OUT DRAMA: OUT.

Off the Pipes

46

Beat 48) Dana’s return

DANA: CURTS: DANA: CURTS: DANA: CURTS: DANA: CURTS: DANA:

Hi, Dad. (CAUSTICALLY) So you finally came back. It’s good to see you, too. How are you feeling? I called the house all night looking for you. I was working. All night long? Did someone forget your distemper shot? I don’t need a distemper shot. Where were you? Maybe you need a tranquilizer. Let me see if I can find a nurse to give you a shot in your . . .
Beat 49) Relief, for Dana

DOCTOR: CURTS: DANA:

(BITES CUE: LOUDLY) Well, how’s the patient. Needing earplugs. Slightly irritable with definite signs of crankiness.

DOCTOR: DANA: DOCTOR: DANA:

We have shots for that. I wouldn’t mind giving him one myself. They really sting. Then how about two? (LAUGH)

DANA AND DOCTOR: CURTS:

(DRILY) Hospital humor. Ha ha.

Off the Pipes

47

Beat 50) Pain for Curts

DOCTOR:

This won’t be so humorous. The extent of your injuries is greater than we first expected. There’s some concern about how quickly and to what extent you’ll be able to regain the use of your leg.

CURTS:

Forget mere signs, I’m full-blown cranky with early onset of aggravated.

DOCTOR:

Further, we’re not sure if you’ve recovered from your concussion.

DANA:

Let me see if he knows his name. (TO CURTS) Dad, who are you?

CURTS: DANA: CURTS: DOCTOR: CURTS:

Aggravated. (TO DOCTOR) He knows who he is. What about my shoulder? Ah, yes, your pitching arm. (ANGRILY) Football. I play football, throw passes, run, and block. Twenty years I’ve been coming to you and you still don’t know I play football.

DOCTOR:

(TERSELY) I am fully aware of your profession and its proper nomenclature.

CURTS: DANA:

Nomad culture? Nomenclature. Long word for “names.”

Off the Pipes DOCTOR:

48

For your information, this is your condition: You will probably never lift your passing arm above your shoulder again.
Beat 51) Donnie and Dave are comic, but not relief

DAVE:

(BEAT) Did someone say the new quarterback has an arm like a gun?

DONNIE:

I cracked a rib trying to catch one of his passes.

DANA: DONNIE:

What are you guys doing here? A bit of patient care. I’ll need some myself from catching that pass.

DAVE:

The guy didn’t make anymore effort than swatting a fly. Pretty magnificent stuff.

CURTS:

You’re not making the patient better.
Beat 52) Doctor leaves

DOCTOR:

You’re in good hands, Curts. I’ll stop back later. And it won’t kill you start getting out of bed. You haven’t been in therapy once.

CURTS:

But I want to finish our conversation. (BEAT: CALLS TO DOCTOR: ANGRILY) Doctor!

DONNIE: DAVE: DANA:

Let him go, Frank. We are here to cheer you up. As a precaution, please note we have requested a distemper shot. Or a muzzle.

Off the Pipes DONNIE: I had one of those when I was twelve and didn’t sit down for a week. CURTS: Don’t you have somewhere to go. Preferably for a very long time? DAVE: DONNIE: DAVE: CURTS: DANA: CURTS: DANA: CURTS: DANA: We’re heading off to the stadium. Extra practice with the new quarterback. Not that his arm needs it. That’s it. (BUILDS BURN) Why don’t . . . (SENSING BURN) . . . We should probably . . . . . . The three of you . . . . . . Go on ahead . . . . . . Leave . . . . . . And go . . . (PEAK) NOW!

49

DANA AND CURTS:

Beat 53) Narrators and game three

NARRATOR TWO:

The doctor’s prognosis was discouraging for

Frank. But to have teammates rave about his replacement was disheartening. NARRATOR ONE: The Rivermen lost again that night. But the

new quarterback did not flail helplessly and Curts sensed he saw the makings of his replacement. Dana visited him after the game and his demeanor had changed from irritable bordering on aggravated to introspective.

Off the Pipes

50

Beat 54) Irritable to introspective

DANA: CURTS: DANA:

(WHISPERS) Dad? Come on in. I wasn’t sure you’d be awake. We lost again. Pretty badly, too.

CURTS: DANA:

How was the new guy? (UNCOMFORTABLY) He’s okay. (CHANGES SUBJECT) Any good movies on?

CURTS: DANA: CURTS: DANA:

I saw the game. He made some good throws. I don’t want to talk about this. (INSISTING) He’s got real potential. (GRUDGINGLY) Yes, he’s got potential. Mr. Jacobs said he did some things he hadn’t seen . . .

CURTS: DANA: CURTS: DANA:

(BITES CUE) Since I was a young quarterback? Yes. Is Jacobs trying to force me to retire? Mr. Jacobs is trying to win football games. Anybody that can help, and I mean anybody, will have a chance to play for the team.

CURTS:

(GLOOMILY) Even a beat up quarterback who’s played seventeen seasons and has a broken leg and busted shoulder?

DANA: CURTS:

I wouldn’t say those things about you. (BRIGHTENS) Really?

Off the Pipes DANA: CURTS: This is only your sixteenth season. (DRILY) Although you are my daughter, I thoroughly despise you. DANA: (LAUGHS) And I love you, too, Dad. Get some sleep. I’ll be back to have breakfast with you before I go to work.

51

Beat 55) Narrators

NARRATOR TWO:

Dana left her father and encouraged him

again to sleep but he couldn’t. There was no obvious way he could resume playing. His career was over and the realization ate his soul. NARRATOR ONE: Twice he dialed Denise’s telephone number to

tell her he couldn’t play anymore. But that was not the same as retiring. Twice he hung up. NARRATOR TWO: All he knew was football. And he knew that

his body was not capable of playing. It was the same body which Doctor Jones had done more to repair than Curts had done to rehabilitate. Dana’s words of “Anybody that can help will have a chance to play for the team” let loose a flame of anger and it engulfed him. NARRATOR ONE: Ten feet from his bed was the door to his

room. During his entire stay in the hospital, he had not walked through the door. (RE-PHRASE FOR

Off the Pipes EMPHASIS) He had not even stood up nor taken a single step since his injury. That was about to change. At eleven o-clock he put his feet on the floor and headed towards the door. NARRATOR TWO: An hour later, and drenched in sweat, Frank

52

reached the door. He was panting and gasping and the pain throbbed in his leg. He caught his breath and headed back towards his bed. After one o-clock in the morning, he collapsed back in his bed and slept until Dana woke him.
Beat 56) Dana returns

DANA: CURTS: DANA:

Dad? (BEAT) Come on, Dad, wake up. Don’t you know it’s bad luck to wake the dead? It’ll be worse than that if you don’t get up. I saw Doctor Jones a few minutes ago and he’s going to drag you into physical therapy. Dad, get up, he’s headed this way and . . .

DOCTOR: CURTS:

(BITES CUE: LOUDLY) Mr. Curts, we have to talk. (IMITATES DOCTOR: LOUDLY) Doctor Jones, about what?

DOCTOR:

Your lack of progress with your physical therapy. In fact, you haven’t started.

CURTS: DOCTOR:

I started last night. It doesn’t show anywhere on your charts.

Off the Pipes CURTS: DANA: CURTS: Well, Doc, your charts are wrong. But I was here until almost eleven. After you left, I got pretty mad at myself for not making more of an effort to get well. So I walked from my bed to the door and back. DANA: DOCTOR: Nicely done, Dad. All you had to do was start moving the leg or maybe stand up. In your condition, it must have taken you . . . CURTS: (BITES CUR) Over an hour to the door and another hour to walk back. DOCTOR: CURTS: How did it feel?

53

Burned like crazy and I almost screamed once. But it never buckled.

DOCTOR:

Fine. But from now on rehab with a therapist present.
Beat 57) Jacobs appears

DANA:

Dad, I’ve got to head to the office. Mr. Jacobs and I are meeting in a few minutes.

JACOBS:

Why not start the meeting now? I took the liberty of ordering breakfast for all of us and it should be here any minute. That way, we can get caught up on some details here.

Off the Pipes CURTS: Thank you, Mr. Jacobs. I hope I haven’t caused you any problems by wanting to get back into the league. JACOBS: None at all. In fact, I owe you an apology. I’ve been so focused on getting the new quarterback ready to play that I never thanked you for

54

everything you’ve done for the Rivermen. You were the core of a fine team that played hard all the time. CURTS: I appreciate the chance you gave me to play for the Rivermen. With Doc’s help, I’ll try to play again. DOCTOR: The fool walked across his room at midnight. Could have cracked open his skull or aggravated his injuries if he fell. JACOBS: (LAUGHS ROBUSTLY) That’s the Frank Curts I know. Always following his own path. DANA: Mr. Jacobs, I don’t mean to be the one to say it, but we are expecting guests for our meeting at your office. JACOBS: And it wouldn’t look good if I was late for my own meeting. CURTS: DANA: But what about breakfast? We can stop along the way.

Off the Pipes JACOBS:

55

(TO FRANK) Frank, learn to stand before you walk. And Doc, make sure stays in physical therapy. Tranquilize him if you have to.

DANA: JACOBS: DANA:

Might I give you a lift, Mr. Jacobs? Thanks. (TO CURTS) Dad, I’ll be back to have dinner with you before the game. (TO JACOBS) This way, Mr. Jacobs.
Beat 58) Dana’s roots

SFX: JACOBS: DANA:

ON MIC: TWO SETS OF FOOTSTEPS ON HOSPITAL TILE. Your Dad seems to be showing some spark. He finally got angry enough with himself to take action.

JACOBS:

He never was one to do things when other people wanted him to. (BEAT) Kind of like you.

DANA: JACOBS:

Me? How so? Only another Curts would recommend we re-sign the kicker that cost us a championship because he was high on chipped or broke or whatever.

DANA: JACOBS: DANA:

Crack. And he hasn’t touched it in ten years. I’ll let you share the news with your Dad. I’ve already taken care of that.

Off the Pipes

56

Beat 59) Narrators

MUSIC:

UP AND ESTABLISH: DRAMATIC AND TENSE. UNDER TO BED.

NARRATOR TWO:

The player who “cost the Rivermen a

championship” was field goal kicker, Fred Gross. When the news that Gross had been re-signed by the Rivermen, one of its current team members screamed in disbelief: CURTS: (DISBELIEF: LOUDLY) Gross? What’s going through Jacobs’ head? DANA: CURTS: DANA: CURTS: Maybe he wants to win some football games. He’s a crack head. Mr. Jacobs is a crack head? (ANGRILY) Noooo! Dana had expertly anticipate and sidestepped

NARRATOR ONE:

a discussion with her father about the re-signing of Fred Gross. But she did not expect the encouraging sentiment she received for her father during his rehabilitation. NARRATOR TWO: All around Roberts County, fans and

residents offered well-wishes for his quick recovery and return to the game. Her teammates on the Drillers and their fans in the Mountain Football League supported her father’s recovery.

Off the Pipes NARRATOR ONE: She brought up the sentiments during a

57

lunchtime conversation at an elegant restaurant with her mother, Denise.
Beat 60) Lunch with Denise

SFX: ALL:

ESTABLISH REFINED DINING ESTABLISHMENT. (ELEGANTLY) “Oh, yes, we attended that just the other evening.” “Naturally we’ll be there during the holidays. Who wouldn’t?” “There really isn’t any other place for entertaining guests that is half as marvelous.”

DANA: DENISE:

Thanks for coming out to lunch with me, Mom. I’d been meaning to call you. I’ve been so busy I didn’t realize it had been a week since we were out.

DANA:

It’s been hectic for us, too. We’re bringing in a new quarterback and other players.
Beat 61) “How’s your Dad?”

DENISE: DANA:

How’s your Dad handling all the changes? He’s rehabbing away from the team. The leg’s coming along but he’s frustrated with his shoulder. He’s concerned about re-injuring it.

DENISE:

He is the only one who cares if he plays for the Rivermen again.

Off the Pipes DANA: That is what I though at first. But at the press conference, the one you didn’t go to . . . DENISE: (BITES CUE) I remember. Go on.

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Beat 62) Support for his return

DANA:

At the press conference, when he announced he would return to the league from his injuries, everyone cheered and applauded. Over the last month, everyone I talk with has sent along greetings to him and the Rivermen.

DENISE:

Everyone wants him to recover. That is no surprise.

DANA:

(COUNTERS) It is more than that. A lot of people want him to play again. Some people grew up watching him and others are fans of the Rivermen. There’s a lot of interest in having him back on the team.

DENISE:

(DISMISSES DANA) One or two people around the county offering benign, good-natured sympathies is not a groundswell of support.

DANA:

It is more than one or two people around the county.

DENISE:

If you say so, dear. I have got to head back to the office. Lunch is on me. I know the Rivermen do not pay their marketing staff so well.

Off the Pipes DANA: DENISE: My job has changed and now I . . . (BITES CUE) Yes, dear, in a moment. (CALLS TO WAITER) Waiter. WAITER ONE: DENISE: Yes, ma’am.

59

Check please. No need, ma’am.

WAITER ONE: DENISE:

(SURPRISED) I don’t understand. Unless we’re mistaken, you’re the family of

WAITER ONE:

Frank Curts. WAITER TWO: WAITER THREE: We’ve been cheering for him for years. We listen to his games every Thursday while

we work here. WAITER FOUR: When the games run late, we keep the

restaurant open and listen with customers. WAITER THREE: You’d be surprised how many times complete

strangers have sat around a radio and cheered for a guy they’ve never met. DENISE: They must be fans of the team. They are fans of one guy doing his best no

WAITER TWO:

matter what the circumstances. WAITER ONE: We have a gift for him but don’t know how to

get it to him. WAITER FOUR: It is a bottle of Champagne du Saint

Therese.

Off the Pipes DENISE: That’s an outstanding sparkling wine. What year is it? WAITER THREE: WAITER TWO: All years are good years for Saint Therese. There is a card inside. We would appreciate

60

it if you would let him know we are still cheering for him. DANA: Still think it is only “one or two people around the county?”
Beat 63) Denise’s crazy hours

DENSIE: DANA: DENISE: DANA:

We will talk some more at a later date. How about dinner? I have been working crazy hours. You call me when you are available. Take the champagne and give it to Dad the next time you see him.

DENISE: DANA:

Can I crack it over his head? He has had a lot of christenings lately. (CALLS TO WAITERS) Thanks for lunch and the champagne. We will make sure Frank gets along your message and encouragement.

WAITERS:

“Tell him we said good luck.” “We want to see him play again.” “Come back soon.” “And bring Mr. Curts.”

SFX:

REFINED DINING ESTABLISHMENT: OUT.

Off the Pipes

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Beat 64) Narrators

NARRATOR ONE:

Denise would see Frank sooner than she

expected and under uncomfortable circumstances. NARRATOR TWO: The crazy hours she was working included

seminars, conferences, and social events. Frequently she joined her colleagues and clients for dinner and other evening engagements and appointments. NARRATOR ONE: Meanwhile, Frank’s physical therapy was long

days of stretching and mobility for flexibility and weightlifting for strength. NARRATOR TWO: On sunny days, he rode his bicycle around

the county. His legs regained past power while fans cheered his spirit. On rainy days, his routine was indoors where his endurance and determination were tested in solitude. NARRATOR ONE: On the Monday after his team’s first regular

season game – dreadful loss in which the Rivermen made a dispirited effort lacking in focus against the previous season’s worst team – Frank appeared unannounced at Mr. Jacobs’ office. NARRATOR TWO: Although they had spoken several times by

phone since Frank’s injury, they had not seen each other since breakfast in his hospital room.

Off the Pipes NARRATOR ONE: Jacobs had heard of Curts’ long workout

62

routines and the progress he was making. The owner of the Rivermen had wondered if the grueling sessions had diminished or enhanced Curts’ determination to re-join the team. It didn’t take Mr. Jacobs long to find out.
Beat 65) Frank’s request

JACOBS: CURTS: JACOBS: CURTS: JACOBS: CURTS:

Thanks for stopping by, Frank. I’ll only keep you a minute. Go ahead. I’d like to start practicing with the team. What has Doc Jones said about contact? No hitting or blocking but pretty much everything else is okay.

JACOBS: CURTS:

I have heard you’ve been working out. My legs are like trees. I can drive nails with them.

JACOBS: CURTS:

And the shoulder? Work-in-progress. Doc says it is ready to throw but I am . . .

JACOBS: CURTS: JACOBS:

(BITES CUE) . . . Afraid of re-injuring it. Something like that. (CHANGES TONE) Hmmm, did you see our game last week?

Off the Pipes CURTS:

63

Too painful to watch but I listened on the radio. Jackson and Dougherty made it sound good.

JACOBS:

They called a good game but we were lousy. No heart and no soul. Bunch of players that don’t believe.

CURTS: JACOBS:

How’s your new quarterback? He has the skills and he is ready to lead the team but . . .

CURTS:

(BITES CUE) . . . But the team won’t follow. Tough spot.

JACOBS:

Tough spot. We’re practicing now and I am going back to the field. Want to join us?

CURTS:

I did not bring any gear with me to practice today.

JACOBS: CURTS:

Can you see your locker from here? (BEAT: AMAZED) There’s a pair of shorts and a jersey in it.
Beat 66) A little fun

JACOBS: CURTS: JACOBS: CURTS:

Are you up for a little fun? What do you mean? (WITH EMPHASIS) Are you up for a little fun? (WITH EQUAL EMPHASIS) Yes, but don’t put me on the spot for anything.

JACOBS:

Good. Let me make a phone call.

Off the Pipes SFX: JACOBS PICKS UP AND DIALS DESK TELEPHONE. BEAT. RINGS TWICE. BEAT. RINGS TWICE AGAIN. JACOBS: CURTS: JACOBS: Hello, Dana. Don’t tell her I’m here. (TO CURTS) Don’t worry, it’s okay. (TO DANA)

64

Dana, how would you like to break a story for the team? (BEAT) Frank Curts – yes, your Dad, Frank Curts – will be on the Rivermen’s practice field in fifteen minutes. (BEAT) No, it’s not a rumor. I have it from a very reliable source. (BEAT) Of course, we would like to invite some folks from the press to join us. (BEAT: CONTINUE WITH ENTHUSIASM) Great idea. Get as many fans as you can to come out to the field. SFX: JACOBS: JACOBS PUTS DOWN DESK TELEPHONE. Some friends of yours are already here. Why don’t you change and let’s walk out to the field together. MUSIC: SEGUE.
Beat 67) Return of a gunslinger

SFX:

COME ON MIC:

WALLLA-WALLA OF FOOTBALL PLAYERS

GOING THROUGH DRILLS. RIVERMEN: “On the count of three go. One, two, three – GO!” “Keep the player out of the end zone.” “It’s all

Off the Pipes about speed and your has to be faster than his.” “Everybody RUN!” DANA: Kate and Sam. Thanks for coming over on short notice. JACKSON: We appreciate the exclusive but more lead time helps a lot. DOUGHERTY: DANA: Even exclusives need to make deadlines. I think you both know Thomas Daniels and Tony Wideman. DOUGHERTY: JACKSON: TOM: TONY: Hi, Wide. Hello, Handsome. What’s the angle on the story? Don’t know.

65

We got a call from Dana asking us to come over as quickly as possible.

DOUGHERTY:

Dana, I need a news story to justify having a crew here.

DANA:

Countdown from five, four, three, two, one . . . NOW!

JACOBS:

(WITH ECHO) Ladies and gentlemen, joining the Rivermen in practice for the first time in five weeks, the team’s all-time leading passer, Mr. Frank Curts!

SFX:

CHEERING AND APPLAUDING: LOUDLY.

Off the Pipes FANS: “Stand tall, Rivermen. Stand tall.” “Glory has returned.” “Onto the field walked a champion.” DONNIE: DAVE: DANA: DOUGHERTY: DANA: JACKSON: DOUGHERTY: CURTS: JACKSON: DOUGHERTY: (CHEERING) Welcome back, Johnny. The best of the gunslingers has returned. There’s your news. Will he talk with us? Ask him. (CALLS TO CURTS) Hey, Frank. Can we have a couple of words? Hi Sam, Kate. I’m sorry about Johnny. Your wreath made it to the funeral home. The card had a thoughtful sentiment. Never knew you could write. CURTS: JACKSON: He always gave me a break. Pretty dramatic entrance. How soon do you think you can help the team? CURTS: For now, I am glad to be on the field with the Rivermen. DOUGHERTY: CURTS: How’s your rehab? I’m still feeling the injury to my shoulder but my legs are strong. DOUGHERTY:

66

So it’s run around for now and start getting back into game shape.

CURTS:

Pretty much. I’m re-learning the offense.

Off the Pipes

67

Beat 68) Challenger

JENKINS:

(GROWLS) You never knew the offense to begin with.

RIVERMEN: Oooohhhh. CURTS: JENKINS: I know you don’t mean that, Jenkins. I mean every word, Curts. Right here and right now, just me and you. I challenge you to the Ten Second Take Down. TONY: CURTS: Let me block this clown for you, Frank. (TO TONY) Save it, Tony. (TO JENKINS) Allright, Mad Dog. Me against you. Bring me down and you win. DONNIE: DAVE: JACOBS: CURTS: Mad Dog has never lost a Ten Second Take Down. Twenty seasons and no losses. Remember what the Doc said. No contact. Mad Dog needs the reminder. (TO JENKINS) Come on, Jenkins. On the count of three. One, two, THREE! SFX: CHEERING FOR CURTS AND JENKINS: LOUDLY AND ENTHUSIASTICALLY. RIVERMEN: Ten, nine . . . “Come on, Frank.” “Get him, Jenkins. Get him.” DONNIE: DAVE: Jenkins has him. He’s going to tackle Frankie.

RIVERMEN: Five, four, three . . .

Off the Pipes DAVE: DONNIE: Frank got away. Jenkins will never catch him.

68

RIVERMEN: Two, one, zero. (CHEER: LOUDLY) DAVE: TONY: TOM: CURTS: He did it. Men, that is a leader. You okay, Frank? (GASPING) Never . . . (PANTING) . . . better. How about you, Mad Dog? JENKINS: You always were the toughest guy in the league. Glad to see you haven’t lost anything.
Beat 69) Narrators

NARRATOR ONE:

After Frank won the Ten Second Take Down

against Mad Dog Jenkins, he introduced himself to the Rivermen’s new quarterback, Randy Stout. They spoke for an hour and Frank shared his experiences of playing in the league. As much as he went out of his way to talk with Stout, he went equally out of his way to avoid Fred Gross. NARRATOR TWO: Sam Jackson and Kate Dougherty prepared an

hour long special for that evening. The team’s practice was in the program as were interviews with Frank, Tony, and Tom.

Off the Pipes NARRATOR ONE: And High, Wide, and Handsome were together

69

when they sat down for dinner in one of the county’s finer restaurants, Sotto Marie.
Beat 70) Dining at Sotto Marie

MUSIC: SFX: WAITERS:

UP AND ESTABLISH: CLASSICAL DINING MUSIC. UP AND ESTABLISH FINE DINING ESTABLISHMENT. “Tonight’s special is braised lamb with hollandaise sauce.” “We have several chardonnays, but I think a pinot grigio would be superior.” “Excellent choice. I’ll bring that right away.”

CURTS:

Excuse me. My name is Frank Curts and I have a reservation for three at eight o-clock.

WAITER ONE: WAITER TWO: WAITER THREE:

Frank Curts of the Rivermen? Frank Curts who is all over the news? Frank Curts whose special is coming on

television right now? CURTS: TOM: TONY: I do play football. You’re on the television, Frank. Can we sit at the bar? I’d like to see my interview. WAITER FOUR: WAITER TWO: (WITH AWE) You must be Tony Wideman. (WITH AWE) And you are “Handsome Tom”

Daniels.

Off the Pipes WAITER THREE: High, Wide, and Handsome are Rivermen

70

legends. Sotto Marie is completely at your service. WAITER ONE: Anything you want is on the house. (CALLS TO

THE WAITERS) What’s on the menu for our guests? WAITER TWO: Full complement of appetizers from bahai

cholla to calamari. WAITER THREE: Main courses are lamb, steak, and shrimp.

Tonight’s special is lobster. WAITER FOUR: Dessert is between the lightest fluffiest

tiramazu you’ve ever tasted, the world’s most chocolatey mousse, or, my favorite, the cheesiest cheesecake. CURTS: How about a little bit of everything and we’ll share it. WAITER ONE: It is Sotto Marie’s pleasure. One

smorgasbord coming up. To the kitchen. TOM: TONY: This will be great. I look pretty good on television.
Beat 71) Dining disaster

CURTS:

Is that, no it can’t be. (BEAT) Yes it is. That’s Denise at the table in the corner.

TOM: TONY:

Don’t Frank. She’s with other people. Let’s think this through, men.

Off the Pipes CURTS: We’re still married. I’ll be back.

71

Beat 72) It’s Denise . . .

SFX:

ON MIC: CURTS’ FOOTSTEPS. COME ON MIC: WALLA-WALL OF DENISE AND COLLEAGUES.

DENISE’S COLLEAGUES:

“I have never been here before.”

“The interior design is brilliant.” “And everything on the menu looks delicious. DENISE: My daughter and I were here a month ago and it seemed like a perfect place to . . . CURTS: DENISE: (BITES CUE) Hello, Denise. (STARTLED) Frank. It’s a surprise to see you here. CURTS: DENISE: I’ll bet. (TO COLLEAGUES) Everyone, you remember my husband, Frank. MALE COLLEAGUE: FEMALE COLLEAGUE: DENISE: CURTS: Good evening, Frank. Hi, Frank.

The firm is entertaining a prospective client. I can see the entertaining part but I don’t see the client.
Beat 73) . . . on a date!

RANDY:

(BITES CUE: WITH ENERGY) I’ve spoken with the club and we have two tables reserved. Denise and

Off the Pipes I will be in the back and everyone else is down front. CURTS: RANDY: DENISE: CURTS: Convenient . . . for you and Denise. (CONTEMPTUOUSLY) Who are you? Allow me the honor of introductions. Randy . . .

72

Another Randy? I’m replaced twice in one day by a guy named Randy?

DENISE: RANDY: DENISE: RANDY: DENISE: CURTS: RANDY:

Randy, this is, Frank . . . (BITES CUE: WITH BRAVADO) Hi, Frank. He’s my husband. (DEFLATED) Oh. Frank played for the Rivermen. I still play for the Rivermen. Are you the guy that beat Mad Dog Jenkins in the Ten Second Take Down?

CURTS:

(PLAYS IT UP) Mad Dog had never lost in twenty season.

RANDY: CURTS: RANDY: CURTS: RANDY:

My Dad’s a huge fan. Can I have an autograph? Who should I make it out to? Randy, Senior. This is an epidemic, right? Excuse me?

Off the Pipes CURTS: Nothing. (TALKING WHILE AUTOGRAPHING) To Randy

73

Senior . . . Best Wishes . . . Frank Curts of the Rivermen. RANDY: My Dad will appreciate this. Take care, we’re off to Club Gwynne. CURTS: Yeah, take care. Enjoy the club, . . . Denise.
Beat 74) Aggravation

SFX:

ON MIC:

CURTS’ FOOTSTEPS. COME ON MIC: TOM,

TONY, AND WAITERS TOM: TONY: This appetizer is the best I’ve ever had. The only thing better than this appetizer is eating it while I’m on television. CURTS: TOM: CURTS: TOM: CURTS: (ANGRILY) Let’s get out of here. How did it go? She has a date with a guy named Randy. Isn’t that the name of the guy that replaced you? Yes, Randy is the name of the guy that replaced me. Now let’s go. TONY: I’m not running away from Denise or Randy or anyone else. TOM: CURTS: You didn’t back down from Mad Dog Jenkins. Mad Dog doesn’t have legs like Denise. Or her smile. TOM: You’re right.

Off the Pipes CURTS: TONY: CURTS: See what I mean? See what’s behind you? Behind me? What the . . . (BITES CUE) . . . hello, Denise.

74

Beat 75) Then worse

DENISE: TOM: TONY: DENISE: CURTS: DENISE:

I have something for you. Don’t expect legs, Frank. Although you might be able to get some smile. Thanks for noticing. Where’s Randy? He’s having his driver pull up the limousine. Oooohhhh.

TOM AND TONY: DENISE: CURTS: TOM: TONY: CURTS: TOM: TONY: DENISE:

This is for you. A bottle of champagne? That’s no ordinary sparkling wine. It’s Champagne du Saint Therese. What year. All years are good years with Saint Therese. I’ll bet Randy knows that. Dana and I were here earlier in the month and the waiters made me promise to take it to you.

CURTS:

There’s card attached.

Off the Pipes DENISE: Apparently the waiters would listen to you play while they worked on Thursday nights. Even kept the place open when the games ran late. CURTS: DENISE: Nice touch, and appreciated. I don’t know what you’re trying to prove by playing again but you don’t have to impress me. CURTS: It’s not about impressing you. It’s about reaching for something I may never have. DENISE: RANDY: DENISE: That could be said for a lot of things. (BITES CUE) Denise, the car is here. Frank, when you see Dana, give her this message: I kept my promise. CURTS: DENISE: About the champagne? About a lot of things.

75

Beat 76) Frank’s resolve hardens

MUSIC:

UP AND ESTABLISH: DRAMATIC AND CONTEMPLATIVE. UNDER TO BED.

NARRATOR TWO:

Frank watched Denise walk out of the

restaurant. Every step she took away from him further hardened his resolve to play again. NARRATOR ONE: The balance of the dinner was a two-sided

conversation between Tom Daniels and Tony Wideman. Their attempts to engage Frank were as

Off the Pipes

76

ineffective as throwing grapes at a wall to knock it over. NARRATOR TWO: As the evening ended, Frank offered a line

of dialogue: CURTS: Would you two help me on the practice field tomorrow? Say, seven in the morning. TOM: I doubt if you’ll get another interview that early. TONY: CURTS: Probably no standing ovation from fans. I want to start throwing. Need to get some strength back in my shoulder. TOM: TONY: CURTS: I’ll bring coffee, black, all ways round. Doughnuts are on me. Let the throwing begin.
Beat 77) Dana’s departure

NARRATOR ONE:

Frank left them behind and drove home.

Expecting to see Dana, a message was waiting for him on his telephone: DANA: (FILTERED) Hi, Dad. Mom called and told me the details. Sorry, but at least you got the champagne. I’ll be on the road for a couple of days so don’t hold dinner for me. (LAUGHS) Hang in there, Dad. Love you, Dana.

Off the Pipes

77

Beat 78) Big victory for Dana

NARRATOR TWO:

Dana was driving to join the Drillers. The

team’s record was three wins and two losses and their next opponent was the league’s current leader, the Miners. NARRATOR ONE: The stands were packed with Driller fans and

a dozen Rivermen players. They were pleased when the Drillers won easily. Dana played a strong game and ran for two touchdowns.
Beat 79) Fuel for Rivermen

NARRATOR TWO:

The next day, the Rivermen who watched Dana

play were energized in practice. Mr. Jacobs saw the change and asked Frank, Tom, and Tony to join the team. The energy galvanized and a competitive spark flickered within the team. NARRATOR ONE: The next night, in their second regular

season game, the spark ignited into a full flame and carried the team to its first victory. Their locker room echoed with cheers. NARRATOR TWO: Only Fred Gross, the field goal kicker, was

absent from the festivities. He missed two kicks which could have made the going easier. He dressed quickly and left.

Off the Pipes

78

Beat 80) Drillers get another victory

NARRATOR ONE:

The next week, the Drillers won their

seventh and final regular season game, Dana was greeted with a familiar chorus from the Rivermen: RIVERMEN: Go Dana, go Dana. Go Dana, go Dana. (CHEERS) DONNIE: DAVE: DANA: One more game, Dana. Then back to back champions. Thanks for making the drive guys. We appreciate your support. DAVE: We’ve got something bigger planned for the championship. DONNIE: DANA: So big you may have to expand the stadium. It’s a good thing we skip a week before the championship. We’ll need the extra time to get the stadium ready. RIVERMEN: Dana. Dana. Dana. Dana. Dana. (UNDER AND OUT)
Beat 81) Fuel for two more Rivermen victories

NARRATOR TWO:

The Rivermen’s enthusiasm for Dana’s success

carried into their efforts. They won their second game, and then their third during the week the Drillers prepared for the championship of the Mountain Football League. NARRATOR ONE: Frank’s throwing shoulder was regaining

strength. Although he couldn’t throw it as far as

Off the Pipes he used to, he was much more accurate. As his

79

therapy progressed, he grew more confident in his ability to play again. NARRATOR TWO: Fred Gross continued to be the one point of

concern. His leg had plenty of power but his accuracy was suspect. With each substandard performance, he was less willing to join the team for functions beyond practices and games. He often left the locker room before the entire team was off the field.
Beat 82) Drillers’ big game

NARRATOR ONE:

However, there were no concerns for the

Drillers in the championship game. They were totally focused on their opposition, the Miners. NARRATOR TWO: And the Drillers brilliantly executed the

plays Dana called and won their second Mountain Football League championship in two years. Afterwards, Dana got her big surprise. SFX: WALLA-WALLA OF CHEERING FANS.

RIVERMEN: “All bow to the great Dana.” “Champion of the Mountain Football League.” Dana, Dana, Dana, Dana. (UNDER TO BED) DONNIE: You were brilliant, Dana.

Off the Pipes DAVE: Best play calling I’ve seen in years. The Miners didn’t have a chance. DANA: DAVE: DONNIE: DANA: Thanks guys. We really appreciate your support. I’ll bet you’re wondering what your surprise is. And what could be such a big deal. I’m just glad you guys are here. There’s no need for any kind of a . . . JACOBS: DANA: JACOBS: (BITES CUE) Great game, Dana. (SURPRISED) Mr. Jacobs! You called a fine game out there. Used every Drillers player to the best of their abilities. Just brilliant. DANA: Thanks, but I’m sure you didn’t drive three and one-half hours to see my play calling.

80

Beat 83) Coordinator job for Dana

JACOBS:

Yes, I did. Our offensive coordinator had to step away from the team for health reasons.

DANA: JACOBS:

I am so sorry for him. The early prognosis is good. Doc Jones thinks he’ll make a full recovery.

DANA:

I’ll be back with the team tomorrow and can start briefing the interim coordinator by noon.

JACOBS: DANA:

That’s not good enough. I can drive back tonight if that will help.

Off the Pipes JACOBS: I need someone who’s played the game, called plays at a championship level, and knows our team. I want you to take the job. DANA: It’s what I’ve been planning for, sir. But I never played in the I-F-L and the team may not listen. JACOBS: Half of them team watched you win a championship tonight and the other half watched you win last season. Besides, we’re in a tough spot. DANA: JACOBS: Can we do it without telling my Dad? The logistics may be a bit tough but if that’s what it takes, then okay. DANA: Deal. Let me get my gear and I’ll be back in ten minutes.

81

Beat 84) Rivermen stumble badly

NARRATOR ONE:

The next day and one half was a crush of

meetings and diagrams behind closed doors. She analyzed the Rivermen and looked for ways to win. On the field, however, the team did not reflect her preparation. NARRATOR TWO: After the crushing loss, reporters swarmed

around Jacobs looking for an explanation for the Rivermen’s poor performance.

Off the Pipes

82

Beat 85) Press conference

REPORTERS:

“What happened tonight?” “The offense never got started.”

DOUGHERTY: JACOBS: DOUGHERTY:

Jacobs, over here. Go ahead, Kate. Except for your kicker, it seemed like the offense never got into a rhythm.

JACOBS:

You’re right. Gross made all four of his kicks. But the struggles of our offense was my fault. Our coordinator had to step away for health reasons . . .

JACKSON: JACOBS:

(BITES CUE) Is he okay? Tests will be back soon. Until then, keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

JACKSON: JACOBS:

What about the offense. For the rest of the season, I’m calling the plays.

DOUGHERTY:

When it was clear the Rivermen were going to lose, was there any thought of putting in Curts?

JACOBS: DOUGHERTY:

Randy’s our quarterback. Frank could’ve gotten some game time that might be useful later in the season.

JACOBS:

(ANGRILY) If there are no other questions, we’ll stop here. Good night everyone.

Off the Pipes

83

Beat 86) Jacobs and Dana talk

SFX:

WALLA-WALLA OF REPORTERS, PLAYERS AND COACHERS: UNDER AND OUT.

REPORTERS:

“we’ll be back in the morning.” “Their opponents don’t get easier.” “Next week’s one of the toughest.”

SFX: DANA: JACOBS:

QUIET. I did better calling plays for the Drillers. We need you to think like you did with them. You won by getting the most from each player.

DANA:

Back there, half the teams were bigger than us and the other half were faster.

JACOBS:

Same here. And just like the Drillers, we’ve got a ton of brains. It’s the only advantage we have.

DANA: JACOBS:

If brains were weapons, we’d be powerful. Can you make us a deadly smart football team? Preferably by practice tomorrow morning?

DANA:

I’ve got an idea but it’s crazy and may not work here. Everyone on the Drillers had a role on and off the field. We had streams of intense focus that made us smarter than the opposition. That’s how we won.

JACOBS:

Practice is at nine. I’ll be back at eightthirty. Are we good?

Off the Pipes DANA: We’re good. By the way, what are you going to do about my Dad. He’ll want to play since we lost. JACOBS: At this moment, it’s a step backwards for us if he does. As long as we win, I don’t have to play him. Your job is to make us win. DANA: I’ll see you at eight-thirty.

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Beat 87) Dana’s plan

NARRATOR ONE:

Dana's plan relied on the Rivermen knowing

the opposing team as well as their own. Everyone would be responsible for identifying who from the other team was on the field and what they tended to do. NARRATOR TWO: Dana would analyze input from the Rivermen

suggest plays to Jacobs. He would have the final say. NARRATOR ONE: The next morning, after talking with Dana in

private, he presented the game plan for the next week’s game.
Beat 88) Selling the plan

JACOBS:

The rest of the schedule is pretty daunting. Everyone’s bigger or faster than us. That leaves us one option.

DONNIE:

I’m not quitting, Mr. Jacobs.

Off the Pipes JACOBS:

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Nobody’s quitting, Donnie. But we’re going to use our brains. Collectively and individually, we’re going to outthink out opponents.

DAVE:

Mr. Jacobs, I don’t mean any disrespect, but I’m not sure each of us can outthink much more than an apple.

DONNIE: DAVE: JACOBS:

Speak for yourself, Dave. I was. Then we’ll learn. Before our games, each of us will be responsible for keeping tabs on one or two of the defensive players. We’ll identify whose on the field and I’ll call the best play to run. If we get everyone involved we have a chance to win. Today we’ll start on our own defense. Everybody has a sheet with his name on it and who they are watching.

DAVE:

Mr. Jacobs, unless you’re expecting our brains to run, pass, and tackle, we don’t have a chance.

JACOBS:

I know it looks bleak but a lot of time was spent developing this. I remember Johnny Parks describing a team like ours from about thirty years ago. He said: “Brains are the power, “Developed each hour,

Off the Pipes “Nothing else is quite the same. “Better than brawn, “Smart giants are drawn, “Who go out and win each game.” Let’s start drawing our championship today.

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Beat 89) Many voices, a single vision

SFX:

WALLA-WALLA OF PLAYERS PREPARING FOR PRATICE.

RIVERMEN: “This one’s yours.” “You’re over here.” What if I don’t have a sheet.” “You can’t read anyway.” NARRATOR TWO: The Rivermen began assembling their offense.

Everyone had a role and everyone had significance. NARRATOR ONE: Their many minds and many voices became a

single vision for extracting the best performance from each player.
Beat 90) A single vision, many victories

NARRATOR TWO:

The team beat the Silos and then the

Orchard. Smiles and cheers were the order of both days. NARRATOR ONE: Quietly, Fred Gross, the kicker, was

producing significant results. His kicks never lacked distance. Now they were accurate, too. NARRATOR: TWO: Not so quietly, Frank Curts made it known he was ready to play. He could still, in his words,

Off the Pipes “win any game from anywhere on the field, at any time.” NARRATOR ONE: Jacobs acknowledge the progress Curts was

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making with his physical therapy. He would play when he was the best player the team needed at that moment. In the meantime, the team won again without him. NARRATOR TWO: As the season wound down, the Rivermen were

the third best team in the league. However, only the top two would play for the championship. NARRATOR ONE: Before the last game of the season, Mr.

Jacobs spoke to the team before it went on the field. SFX: JACOBS: WALLA-WALLA IN LOCKERROOM. (OVER SFX) During the last three weeks, you have played with a spirit, a passion, and an intelligence which has been remarkable. You have beaten bigger teams and faster teams because you have been a smarter team. Stop for one moment and celebrate yourselves with a round of applause. SFX: JACOBS: CHEERS AND APPLAUSE: WARMLY. Everyone knows we are one game behind the Lumber for second place. But what we’ve done in the past three weeks, and how we’ve done it, has become

Off the Pipes legendary. Everybody is talking about us and how

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we value every voice. Other teams are copying our style. Let’s play this game to show them smart football, intelligent football, real football. Let’s show them Rivermen football! SFX: CHEERS AND APPLAUSE: ROUSING AND SUSTAINED.

RIVERMEN: “We are – Rivermen.” “We are – Rivermen.” “Rivermen, Rivermen, Rivermen, Rivermen.”
Beat 91) Victory

MUSIC:

UP AND ESTABLISH: ENERGETIC MARCHING BAND. UNDER TO BED.

NARRATOR TWO: NARRATOR ONE:

The Rivermen with intelligence and passion. As the game ended, Sam Jackson and Kate

Dougherty broadcast the results. JACKSON: The Rivermen have made one of the most remarkable turnarounds in the team’s history. DOUGHERTY: One month ago, they were sliding into mediocrity. But since installing its “Many minds with a single vision” philosophy, the team has steamrolled its opponents. JACKSON: However, they find themselves most likely watching the championship rather than playing for it.

Off the Pipes DOUGHERTY: (BITES CUE) Sam, we’re getting an update from the Lumber game. With two seconds left, the Lumber’s opponent are lining up for a long field

89

goal to win the game. This would knock the Lumber out of the playoffs. JACKSON: They needed to win to play for the championship but the Silos are giving them all they handle. DOUGHERTY: The Silos snap the ball, it’s placed down, and the their kicker Eric Jenko slams his foot into the ball and sends it as far and as straight as he can and it is . . . GOOD! The Lumber lose and the Rivermen will play for the championship.
Beat 92) But not for everyone

ALL:

CHEERS AND APPLAUSE: RAUCOUS, ENTHUSIASTIC, AND SUSTAINED.

NARRATOR ONE:

The Rivermen and their fans deliriously

cheered their unexpected chance to play for the championship. NARRATOR TWO: But a stranger delivered a message to Fred

Gross and Gross immediately dropped to one knee in prayer. A moment later he and the stranger left. All of which was seen by Dana, Tom, and Thomas.

Off the Pipes

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Beat 93) Curious behavior

DANA: TOM: TONY: DANA: TOM: DANA: TONY: DANA: TONY: DANA:

Who’s that with Gross? And where are they going? (CALLS TO GROSS) Hey. Gross. Come on guys, I might need some backup. They went over there, through the stadium gate. My car’s over here. Not the Dana Death Trap. New car. It’s the black, low-slung affair. New car? Promotion. I’ll tell you later. Get in!
Beat 94) In pursuit

SFX:

THREE CAR DOORS OPEN, THEN CLOSE. BEAT. ENGINE STARTS AND ROARS AWAY. UNDER TO BED.

TONY:

Fourth Street is one of the worst sections in the county.

TOM: DANA:

I’m glad we took your car. They pulled over and went into that warehouse. End of the story, this isn’t for us.

TOM: DANA: TONY:

I’m going in there. (DISBELIEF) What? No need for heroics, Tom.

Off the Pipes TOM:

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The guy hasn’t done anything with the team except practice and play. Everybody has a life and my guess is that this building holds some of his.

DANA:

Pretty shabby state of affairs, even for Fourth Street.

TOM: TONY:

(COUNTERS HER) From the outside. I’m in. Let’s go.
Beat 95) They go inside

SFX:

THREE DOORS OPEN AND CLOSE. THREE SETS OF FOOTSTEPS ON CEMENT SIDEWALK.

DANA: TONY: DANA: TOM: TONY: SFX: FRED:

Which building did he go into? The most burned out one. That’s not encouraging. I hear people talking. In here. WALLA-WALLA: COME ON MIC. When I got the message, I dropped to one knee and prayed. Then I came straight here.

SFX:

WALLA-WALLA: CONCERNED. “I wonder where she went?” “I hope

FRED’S FRIENDS:

she’s okay.” “Should we call the hospital? TOM: FRED: TONY: Hello, Fred. (ANGRILY) What are you doing here? We wanted to celebrate with our teammate.

Off the Pipes FRED: DANA: FRED: TOM: You’ve celebrated, now leave. Who are these people? Nobody you or the Rivermen want to know. Unless I’m wrong, these are people Fred has helped get off crack. FRED: TOM: We help them get off and stay off.

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And the stranger that spoke to you after our game told you someone was in trouble.

FRED:

We heard one of the younger ones was shooting up in a warehouse and we scoured the are looking for her. We picked this burned out building on Fourth Street as our pre-arranged meeting place.

ERIC: TOM: TONY:

(BITES CUE: WITH URGENCY) Fred. (BEAT) Bad news. (WITH WONDER) Aren’t you Eric Jenko? The kicker that just beat the Lumber to put the Rivermen in the championship game?

FRED: ERIC: FRED: ERIC:

Yes, that Jenko. Let him talk. She won’t be coming. She was doing so well. I went straight over as soon as I got the message but the police were already there.

DANA: TONY:

If she needs bail money then I can . . . (BITES CUE: GENTLY) I don’t think that’s the problem.

Off the Pipes TOM: ERIC: FRED: DANA: FRED: Bail money won’t help. The service is Sunday at Our Lady of Grace. We’ll be there. You could have told us what you were doing. Like you told your Dad you were playing women’s professional football? ERIC: DANA: TONY: TOM: Father said he would meet with us tonight. Let us go with you. Maybe that’s not our place. Maybe not, but our experience might help. (TO FRED) Fred, twenty years ago, I drank a lot. Got fired from the Rivermen and nearly lost my life. But I had someone who helped me get my life back

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on track. He’ll join us, if you let him, when you meet with Father. TONY: TOM: Who are you talking about, Tom? Mr. Jacobs. He got me help and when I showed I was ready to play again, he hired me back. FRED: ERIC: FRED: (HESITATES) I don’t know . . . She might still be with us if we had more help. Okay, okay. Meet us at Our Lady of Grace at midnight.

Off the Pipes

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Beat 96) Narrators

MUSIC:

UP AND ESTABLISH: SOMBER AND THOUGHTFUL. UNDER TO BED.

NARRATOR TWO:

Fred offered a short prayer. Then he and

Eric gathered together their shaken family for the somber meeting with Father. Tom called Mr. Jacobs who left during the team’s celebration and he went to the church immediately. NARRATOR ONE: Everyone left the burned out warehouse

together and went to Our Lady of Grace. Little did they know they were being watched from the shadows of the building. Nor were they what they began to hear about then read in the newspapers. NARRATOR TWO: Rumors began circulating through the team

that a player was under surveillance by the police. Then unconfirmed stories appeared in the papers about a Rivermen player on the verge of being arrested. Then the story became an unidentified team member was close to being fired for drug use. NARRATOR ONE: Next came headlines about one of the

Rivermen supporting a group of drug users. Finally, three days before the championship game, the newspapers ran a headline that Rivermen

Off the Pipes kicker, Fred Gross, was linked to heroin use.

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Another paper wrote that Gross was connected to a recent fatal overdose. NARRATOR TWO: Both articles cited unknown sources close to

the investigation. That same day, Mr. Jacobs addressed the team over the articles.
Beat 97) Team meeting

SFX:

WALLA-WALLA OF RIVERMEN.

RIVERMEN: (ANGRILY) “No one should be going to the press about a teammate.” “We don’t want a drug user on the team.” “He hasn’t been charged.” “But if he’s doing drugs, he should be.” JACOBS: (OVER RIVERMEN) Allright, allright. I have something to say. SFX: JACOBS: WALLA-WALLA OF RIVERMEN: UNDER AND OUT. First, I apologize to Fred for the way he’s been treated by his own teammates. Second, to the “unknown sources” on the team, I will not let you disrupt our preparations for this game. An third, I am embarrassed by the team. As a consequence, today’s practice is over. RIVERMEN: (NGRILY) “We have a practice in three days.” “You can’t just cancel it.” “We can’t win if we don’t practices.”

Off the Pipes JACOBS:

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(ANGRILY) We can’t win if we are undermining each other. (NORMALLY) For that reason, I’ve named Fred as honorary captain for the game. Anyone who objects will do say as an ex-Rivermen. If that’s settled, let’s practice.
Beat 98) Narrators

MUSIC:

UP AND ESTABLISH: TENSE UNDER CURRENT. UNDER TO BED.

NARRATOR ONE:

Practice had an edgy atmosphere. The entire

team feared Jacobs’ words about becoming an exRivermen. NARRATOR TWO: But there was robust speculation, unheard by

Jacobs, on who had created the rumors and stories. Gross continued his standoffish by being last to arrive to practice and first to leave. NARRATOR ONE: When championship game day arrived, Sam

Jackson and Kate Dougherty announced the action.
Beat 99) Let the game begin

SFX:

WALLA-WALLA TO ESTABLISH FOOTBALL GAME FANS. UNDER TO BED.

JACKSON:

Welcome to the seventy-fifth Steel Bowl, the championship of the Industrial Football League. I’m Sam Jackson and joining me is Kate Dougherty.

Off the Pipes DOUGHERTY:

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Thanks, Sam. It’s a cold snowy Christmas Eve in Roberts County. This is the final game of a season marked by tragedy and controversy. Before the regular season started, Johnny Parks, legendary announcer of the I-F-L, passed away.

JACKSON:

Next, Frank Curts, longtime quarterback of the Rivermen, fueled speculation that he might retire. After a severe injury during the preseason, he hasn’t played a game since.

DOUGHERTY:

Then, three days ago, the Rivermen were rocked by stories of drug use by their kicker, Fred Gross. The team responded swiftly and Coach Jacobs showed his faith in Gross by naming him honorary caption for today.

JACKSON:

The distractions couldn’t have come at a worse time. We asked Jacobs and Gross about the distractions but neither wanted to comment.

DOUGHERTY:

But we caught up with Frank Curts moments ago to get his comments about playing in what may be his final game.
Beat 100) A few words with Frank

SFX:

WALLA-WALLA OUT. Frank, I don’t think this is how you imagined your final season.

DOUGHERTY:

Off the Pipes CURTS: I’ve rehabbed from my injury and gotten ready to play. DOUGHERTY: Plus, your team’s been in the headlines recently. CURTS: DOUGHERTY: CURTS: We’ve focused on preparing for today’s game.

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You shoulder’s ready if Jacobs calls on you. I can still win any game from anywhere on the field.

DOUGHERTY: CURTS:

Good luck, Frank. Thanks.
Beat 101) Back to the game

SFX:

UP AND ESTABLISH: WALLA-WALLA OF FOOTBALL GAME FANS. UNDER TO BED.

DOUGHERTY:

Curts’ confidence seems ready to carry the Rivermen to victory.

JACKSON:

It’ll take more than that for the team to win. They’re playing the Capitals, last year’s champions and the best team in the league this year. But Coach Jacobs found an inspiration from thirty years ago. Back then, Johnny Parks wrote two verse about a team playing faster and stronger opponents. He titled the lines “Smart Giants” and they read like this:

DOUGHERTY:

“Brains are the power,

Off the Pipes “Developed each hour, “Nothing else is quite the same.” JACKSON: “Better than brawn, “Smart giants are drawn, “Who go out and win each game.” DOUGHERTY: Parks wrote the piece about the last Rivermen team to win a championship. JACKSON: The game’s set to start . . . Fred Gross sends a long kick to Capitals and the action’s underway. DOUGHERTY: The Capitals receive it at their five, the ten, the fifteen and the runner sprints into the open. He’s at midfield, to the thirty, and only Gross can stop him now. They collide at the twenty and Gross is leveled. Into the end zone the runner goes for a touchdown. And Fred Gross is holding his left leg. DOUGHERTY: In less than ten seconds, the Capitals take

99

the lead and on that play the “Smart Giants” were neither.
Beat 102) Narrators

MUSIC:

UP AND ESTABLISH: ANXIOUS AND DRAMATIC. UNDER TO BED.

NARRATOR TWO:

It was a disheartening start for the

Rivermen. They received the kickoff and began on

Off the Pipes offense. High above the stadium, unknown to

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everyone except Coach Jacobs, Dana called plays. NARRATOR ONE: After the initial excitement of the

Capitals, neither team did much. Then, late in the second quarter, the Rivermen came to life on offense. NARRATOR TWO: Down the field they moved. Dana mixed passes

and runs that took advantage of the Capitals few weaknesses. With seconds left in the half, Sam Jackson made this call.
Beat 103) Rivermen score

JACKSON:

Rivermen quarterback, Randy Stout, calls signals. He has the team two yards away from a chance to tie the score. The ball is snapped and he throws it into the end zone for a . . . TOUCHDOWN!

SFX:

QUICKLY UP AND SUSTAIN: ENTHUSIASTIC CHEERS AND APPLAUSE.

DOUGHERTY:

The Rivermen have marched down the field and scored a touchdown. Fred Gross can tie the score with one swing of his foot.

JACKSON:

Gross is set and he signals the holder. The ball is snapped . . . (WITH URGENCY) . . . and it’s dropped by the holder. Gross picks it up and

Off the Pipes

101

heads toward the goal line but he’s smothered by Capitals. DOUGHERTY: The first half ends with the Rivermen trailing seven to six and Fred Gross is limping badly.
Beat 104) Narrators

NARRATOR ONE:

Gross wasn’t the only one struggling.

Although it had scored on the last play, enthusiasm in the team’s locker room was low. NARRATOR TWO: Jacobs noted the lack of any energy and

spoke to the team in somber tones. Meanwhile, Dana reviewed her plays from the first half to see where should make adjustments. NARRATOR ONE: The Rivermen received the kick off to start

the second half. They had some success but kicked it away to the Capitals. The team exchanged one more punt each and then the Rivermen began to move. JACKSON: Randy Stout has got the Rivermen going upfield again. His passes have kept the Capitals guessing and he drops back to throw again. DOUGHERTY: (BITES CUE) But he’s intercepted and the Capitals will run this back for another touchdown and they begin celebrating. They line for the

Off the Pipes

102

extra point and – it’s good! The Capitals lead is now fourteen to six. JACKSON: The Rivermen will have to get another drive going if they want to have any chance of winning. The kickoff comes down to them their runner is hit – and fumbles! The Capitals recover and this could be the beginning of the end for the Rivermen. A touchdown here could make things difficult.
Beat 105) Narrators

NARRATOR ONE:

But the Rivermen defense did not yield the

touchdown and their opponent lined up for an easy field goal. But before the Capitals could try the kick, Sam Jackson saw these events unfold.
Beat 106) Mad Dog into the game

JACKSON:

Jacobs has called a timeout. He doesn’t like the players on the field and he sends in . . . (TO KATE) . . . Kate, am I seeing that right?

DOUGHERTY:

You are, Sam. Jacobs is sending in Mad Dog Jenkins. Jacobs is whispering something to Jenkins and he holds up ten fingers.

JACKSON:

Jacobs is shaking his head no and Mad Dog holds up five fingers. Mad Dog holds up three fingers and Jacobs smiles.

Off the Pipes DOUGHERTY:

103

Unless I’m wrong, Jacobs has challenged Mad Dog to take down the Capitals kicker in three seconds. Jenkins trots onto the fields, points to their kicker then to himself and holds up three fingers.

JACKSON:

Most of the Capitals are laughing and shaking their heads. But the Rivermen are taking Jenkins seriously and they line up to rush. The ball is snapped and placed down and . . .

DOUGHERTY:

(BITES CUE) Jenkins blocks the kick and recovers it. Mad Dog Jenkins has blocked the kick and recovered it in a single motion. And the Rivermen are still alive.
Beat 107) Narrators

MUSIC:

UP AND ESTABLISH: DRAMATIC. UNDER TO BED. Jenkins brilliant moment inspired the

NARRATOR TWO:

Rivermen and they were on the march again. NARRATOR ONE: First a pass, then two runs, followed by two

passes and the Capitals were reeling. And Sam Jackson sent the Rivermen fans into delirium with this call.
Beat 108) “Rivermen nation is screaming”

JACKSON:

Randy Stout is looking at a touchdown seventeen yards away. He takes the snap and lofts a high

Off the Pipes arching pass into the end zone . . . AND IT’S CAUGHT! There is no way that could have been caught but it was! Rivermen nation is screaming its approval. SFX: QUICKLY ESTABLISH AND SUSTAIN: CHEERS AND APPLAUSE. UNDER TO BED. DOUGHERTY: They are going for two points to tie the score. The ball is snapped but Stout is buried immediately. He is slow in getting up and the

104

third quarter ends with the Rivermen trailing by two.
Beat 109) Narrators

NARRATOR ONE:

But the team’s momentum faded away. The

Rivermen and Capitals traded punts and watched the time run down. With two minutes left in the game, the Rivermen got one last chance to win. But they had the ball on their own one yard line. NARRATOR TWO: They were ninety-nine yards from winning.

High above the stadium, Dana got set for one last series of plays. DANA: Short pass to the right. Jacobs signaled the team to throw to the

NARRATOR ONE:

right. DANA: Another pass to the right.

Off the Pipes NARRATOR TWO:

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Again, Jacobs signaled the team to throw to

the right. DANA: Fake a pass to the right and throw back to the left. NARRATOR ONE: Jacobs signaled the fake pass right and back

to the left. JACKSON: (BITES CUE) Oh, my. The Capitals almost intercepted that one. DANA: Run it up the middle and call timeout. Jacobs signaled the run and quick time out.

NARRATOR TWO:

One minute and thirty seconds were left and the Rivermen were on the move. DANA: Try the pass to the left. Last time was lucky. They’re vulnerable on that side. DOUGHERTY: (WITH EXCITEMENT) Stout’s pass is caught for a huge gain and the Capitals look confused. Stout brings the team to the line and throws across to the right side and the Rivermen are in Capitals territory with one minute and fifteen seconds left. JACKSON: He drops back again and this time the Capitals swarm over him and HE FUMBLES THE BALL! Rivermen and Capitals are scrambling for the ball and it

Off the Pipes

106

is bouncing backwards toward the Rivermen’s goal line. DOUGHERTY: There’s a pile of players on the Rivermen two and no one knows who recovered the ball. If the Capitals have it then the game is over and . . . JACKSON: The Rivermen have it! The Rivermen have it! But laying face down is quarterback Randy Stout. And on the sideline, Frank Curts begins warming up. DOUGHERTY: Stout is conscious but he’s holding his leg. The trainers have him on a stretcher and place him in an ambulance. As he is carted off the field, the fans give him a strong ovation for his performance today and throughout the season. JACKSON: Jacobs and Curts are talking before he comes in and the quarterback seems confused. Jacobs repeats his instructions and Curts trots onto the field. DOUGHERTY: His first pass sails high over his receiver. He looks to pass again in the same direction but fakes it and goes back the other way. The Rivermen are going to pass their way to victory a couple of yards at a time.

Off the Pipes
Beat 110)

107

Narrators

NARRATOR TWO:

Frank inched the team forward. Five yards,

eight yards, once ten yards at a time. But time was slowly ticking away. NARRATOR ONE: With eighteen seconds left, Frank tossed his

trademark high, arching pass that was caught at midfield. Momentum was with Rivermen and he knew the routine. His next pass would be to the end zone. He trotted over to the sideline to get final instructions from Coach Jacobs.
Beat 111) The play

SFX:

QUICKLY UP AND SUSTAINED. WALLA-WALLA OF FOOTBALL FANS CHEERING. UNDER TO BED.

CURTS: JACOBS: CURTS: JACOBS: CURTS: JACOBS: CURTS: JACOBS: CURTS:

Ready to win this thing, Jacobs? You bet. Let’s go get a championship. Who am I throwing it to? No one, you’re holding for Gross. (SHOCKED) What? Field goal team, get in there. What kind of play is that? That’s the play that was called. By who? I want to know who would call for a field goal from sixty yards away.

JACOBS:

The offensive coordinator.

Off the Pipes CURTS: Who’s that?
Beat 112)

108

Dana is found out!

DANA: CURTS: JACOBS:

(GRITTILY DETERMINED) I am. Since when does marketing call our plays? She’s called plays for the last five games. She’s also our top scout.

CURTS: DANA:

(BEWILDERED) Scout? When did this happen? A couple years ago. I wanted to coach and asked Mr. Jacobs for a job. He said he wouldn’t hire me unless I played professionally but he wouldn’t hire me for that either. So I asked to scout for the team.

JACOBS:

She’s pretty good. She signed Stout and convinced me to take on Gross.
Beat 113) Outburst

CURTS:

You signed my replacement and brought back the guy that was so stoned he missed an easy field goal that would have won the championship.

DANA:

That was sixteen years ago. He’s been clean for the last ten.
Beat 114) He overplays his hand

CURTS:

The papers said he had a hangout on Fourth Street and he was connected to the overdose.

JACOBS:

How did you know it was on Fourth Street.

Off the Pipes CURTS: JACOBS: (NERVOUSLY) It was in the papers.

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No Frank. The papers left the location out of the stories. You would have to have been there to know.
Beat 115) With Gross

GROSS:

So you started those rumors about me and planted those stories. Why?

CURTS:

I didn’t want you on the team. You caused me to lose my only chance at a championship and I didn’t want you anywhere near the Rivermen.

JACOBS: CURTS: JACOBS:

Frank, you’re off the team. But . . . (BITES CUE) There is no room for anyone undermining another player or the team.

CURTS: GROSS:

Yes, sir. Mr. Jacobs, we need someone to hold for my kick. Frank can do that.

JACOBS: GROSS:

Not a chance. I said . . . (BITES CUE) Mr. Jacobs, this is about winning the championship. Besides, I owe him.

JACOBS: GROSS:

You don’t owe him a thing. I owe him for what I did sixteen years ago. (TO CURTS) You ready to win this thing?

CURTS:

From anywhere at anytime.

Off the Pipes
Beat 116)

110

The kick . . .

SFX:

UP AND ESTABLISH: WALLA-WALLA OF FOOTBALL FANS. UNDER TO BED.

JACKSON:

It’s all riding on this kick. From sixty-two yards away, the Rivermen are lining up for a championship.

DOUGHERTY:

Gross is in place. He nods to Curts who calls the signals. The ball is snapped and Curts spins the laces away from the kicker. Gross puts swings his leg into the ball and it soars toward the goal post.

JACKSON:

It’s got the distance but it’s starting to hook toward the goalpost and it hits the pipe – BUT BOUNCES THROUGH. THE KICK GLANCED OF THE PIPE AND WENT THROUGH. THE RIVERMEN ARE THE CHAMPIONS. And they are going crazy on the field.

DOUGHERTY:

Frank Curts, after sixteen years in the Industrial Football League has won the championship and he goes to the sideline to hug his daughter, Dana. It is hard to imagine what they are talking about.
Beat 117) Frank and Dana

SFX:

UP AND ESTABLISH: WALLA-WALLA OF FOOTBALL FANS. UNDER TO BED.

Off the Pipes DANA: CURTS: Dad, I couldn’t be happier for you.

111

Thanks, that means a lot. But it would mean more if your Mom was here to see this.

DANA:

She has her own choices to make. This is still a time to celebrate.

CURTS:

You’re right. When we’re finished, let’s have dinner at Sotto Marie.
Beat 118) Back to Sotto Marie

MUSIC: SFX:

UP AND ESTABLISH: CLASSICAL DINING MUSIC. UP AND ESTABLISH FINE DINING ESTABLISHMENT. Mr. Frank Curts is back to celebrate his

WAITER ONE:

victory with us. ALL: QUICKLY UP AND ESTABLISH: SUSTAINED CHEERS AND APPLAUSE. UNDER TO BED. CURTS: Thank you so much. My daughter and I were wondering if you might have a table where we could have dinner. WAITER TWO: Mr. Curts, all of Sotto Marie is for you

tonight. We have been expecting you. CURTS: DANA: Expecting us? Don’t look at me. I didn’t have time to plan anything. WAITER THREE: A friend has sent a bottle of Champagne du

Saint Therese.

Off the Pipes CURTS: DANA: CURTS: I haven’t finished the other one yet. I didn’t even know you had friends. (DRILY) Despite the fact that you are my daughter, I thoroughly despise you. WAITER FOUR:

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It is from the lady at the corner table. She

has her back to us. We, uh, didn’t ask her name. WAITER ONE: We weren’t sure where her ear lobes ended

and her legs began. CURTS: Dana, do you think it’s wrong for me to introduce myself? DANA: Turnabout is fairplay.
Beat 119) Frank introduces himself

SFX:

CURTS FOOTSTEPS. SOUNDS OF A RESTAURANT. FOTSTEPS STOP.

CURTS:

Excuse me, Miss. Thank you for the bottle of champagne you sent me. Miss, can you hear me?

DENISE: CURTS: DENISE: CURTS:

(LAUGHS PROGRESSIVLY LOUDER) Hello, Frank. Denise? Congratulations on winning your championship. Thanks. It would have been better if you had been in the stands.

DENISE: CURTS:

Too cold for me. I listened here. With Randy?

Off the Pipes DENISE: With the waiters. (SERIOUSLY) I don’t know why you play football but I know I have to support you. CURTS: DENISE: I like competing and winning. Anything I can do to get you to start thinking about winning with me again? CURTS: DENISE: I never stopped. Do you think we can ditch Dana and spend some time alone?
Beat 120)

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Dana joins the conversation

DANA:

Not even if you made me head coach of the Rivermen. (BEAT) Mom, did Dad tell you the news?

DENISE: DANA: CURTS: DANA:

He won the game, of course. He’s retiring. I’m re-what-ing? Retiring as in stopping work. Effective immediately.

DENISE:

(EXCITEDLY) Oh, Frank, I’m so excited. You have no idea of the traveling I’ve scheduled. First to Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.

CURTS: DENISE: CURTS: DENISE:

I like Asian food. Then France and Italy. Bread and cheese are good. A month in Ireland and England.

Off the Pipes CURTS: DENISE: CURTS: I’ll need to get a job to pay for this. Then two weeks of horse riding in Arizona. I’ll need two jobs. I wonder if the Department store is hiring in the Men’s department. The End

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