A bald head extended from the booth in front of Danny.
The dark brown, shiny skin had some light splotches, a couple dark indentations, and one red scrape. It was smooth and rounded at a bony point at the top. He must have just had it shaved, Danny thought. The transformation from head to neck was hardly noticeable because his neck was so thick. The skin folds in the neck made deep, black cross-hatch creases at the bottom of the cranium and at inch increments on down. Danny could see the arms of the tight gold glasses over the ears on each side of the head. The arms pressed against the temples so hard that flesh puffed about above and below each arm. This was all Danny could discern from his disadvantaged viewpoint and soon he grew curious about the rest of him.
When a girl came by and came to a startled stop at the man with the bald head. She paused for a moment to put the face with the name, and then said, "Aren't you..."
The mystery man shushed her and sternly said, "Please hush, I don't want to be bothered by any of these damn people." She offered him her pad and pencil and he gruffly grabbed them. "Here you go," he said while handing her the autograph.
Danny stopped her and asked, "Is this guy in front of me famous or something?"
"Its Dwight Washington, but he doesn't want anyone to bother him."
"Dwight Washington as in Big D.W.? The linebacker for the Stallions?"
"That's the one."
"Dwight "Spike" Washington is sitting in font of me?"
"I've watched him since he played at the U. of H. He's like my idol."
"Around here, he's everyone's idol."
"Wow..." was all Danny could say as all the great moments rushed into consciousness. The University of Houston Cougars were down and out until Spike same of age. He planted enough quarterbacks on their butts to Houston out of the gutter and into the national spotlight. He had done the same in the pros with his patented more 'The Spike.'
A slight shake of the hips would unsettle any offensive lineman. A lightning quick spin inside or out was usually all he needed to get into the backfield. If the lineman was good, D.W. used an elbow in the ribs or a knee in the groin to do the job. Then it was all over. If quarterbacks were smart they'd just fall down, but usually they got 'The Spike.' D.W. would firmly plant his helmet directly into the quarterback's sternum with a full-force diving tackle. His helmet was connected to the quarterback's chest from the moment of impact all the way to the ground. They say he killed a kid once back in high-school.
This season hadn't gone so well though. After three successful seasons and 3 Pro bowl invitations something had changed. He didn't have the moves, or maybe the motivation, or maybe both. The rule changes didn't help any. After three seasons of administering 'The Spike' on the professional level, complaints began to mount. Quarterbacks, the high priced darlings of the league, whined about concussions and dirty tactics. So the league offices made some rule changes linebackers and protect the almighty quarterbacks. Since then, D.W. didn't play with as much intensity. Rumors of drug abuse surfaced and the press began hovering around D.W. everywhere he went. A few incidents involving D.W. fist and a camera-man or two had given him a bad reputation with the Stallions front office. He was supposedly on the trading block now.
The fans still loved him though. He was their renegade workhorse. His fierce physical regiment earned him respect among players and fans alike. Little kids in the stands at home games wore "I wanna be like Spike" t-shirts. Danny's feelings hadn't changed either. from the University of Houston to the Stallions, Danny followed Spike's career closely. he always cheered him on and cursed anyone who booed or insulted Spike. Danny felt a kind of kinship with Spike after going to his college games, and then entering college as Spike entered the pros. It was more than hero-worship, Danny felt like he could relate to Spike, unlike most untouchable sports superstars. Danny was sure Spike had experienced similar pressures from school, family and the future.
<- Take me home.