September 19, 9:15 AM
My Dearest Margaret,
I do not know when you will receive this message, nor if I will be returned safely to your loving arms by the time you hold it in your lovely hands. Our party arrived in Tent City on this morn of the nineteenth, excited and anxious about the task at hand. We briskly set up our camp, which is ably outfitted with all of the necessities — snacking chips and soft soda beverages, with some liquors and other assorted alcoholic refreshments for the older members of our party — and have settled in for the long days ahead. Our eyes are bright and giddy at the prospect of securing our safe passage into the first practice of the season, and our hearts were strong and full of life. It will truly be glorious, what we are doing here.
September 19, 4:00 PM
We are now several hours into our encampment here at Tent City, and spirits remain high. The colors of our army are seen everywhere, and we pass the time sitting together and regaling one another with stories of the great folk heroes of our past: Chapman, Feldhaus, Givens. These stories help keep our minds off our stomachs, as we are already running low on our supplies after perhaps an overzealous lunch-time, and the distraction is welcome.
September 19, 8:30 PM
The man they call Coach came down to the encampment today bearing his gleaming trophy, and this lifted the spirits of the group considerably. Many of our younger camp-mates gathered to touch the trophy, and the man was very happy to see everyone — his appearance was welcomed by all and gives us hope for the future. One of our party, M___, punctured his foot on the sharp and dangerous needle of a discarded True Blue Fan pin earlier today, but the bleeding was quickly stopped and he is presently recovering within the tent. We believe he will survive. It is probably best for all of us to rest and retain our strength, so with that I will bid you good night and hope you will give my affections to our children. I do love you all so.
September 20, 6:15 AM
The night brought unexpected hardships as the temperature dropped from a comfortable seventy-three degrees down to the mid-to-low sixties, which is worrying as many of our group neglected to bring the proper jacketry to survive such harsh climes. Huddling together for warmth, we tried to lift one another’s spirits by recounting as best we could the 1994 comeback against the Tigers of Louisiana State in hopes that the strength of those before us would serve as a testament and encouragement. By the early morning, just past midnight, we had exhausted our alcohol and are in depleted supply of foods. Tomorrow, hopefully, will bring hope and strength to last the next two days. Only time will tell.
September 20, 4:45 PM
Things have taken a turn for the worse. M__’s punctured foot has lent him to great pain, and he has taken to rambling incoherently about Keith Bogans’ injured ankle. We know these ramblings to be the desperate hallucinations of a man rife with pain, yet still it is important that we both keep him calmed and out of the eye of others in whom he might instill panic. A fight broke out on the western border today over the legacy of Rodrick Rhodes — two miscreants were forcibly removed by the constables — and there are increasing murmurs around the camp of a terrifying man who calls himself “The Cut-ler,” who has been rumoured to be navigating among the tents. I pray this tale is only a product of growing hysteria. Food is in short supply and the night is poised to grow colder, perhaps as low as the high fifties, and I do not believe myself to be the only one concerned of lasting the night. How I wish I were home with you, my darling Margaret.
September 20, 10:35 PM
As I write this our friend M__’s injured foot grows worse by the hour. We are frightened to leave the safety of our tent lest we meet with The Cut-ler and another of our group has come down with a fit of the gases, his horrible rotting air cutting our nostrils to the cartilage. I can only long for the welcome sunrise of the morn and another day.
September 21, 10:15
What have we wrought here in Tent City, Margaret? Last night in the desolate darkness our dear friend M___ passed away and in the tortuous throes of fear and hunger we were forced to consume him, his body the only thing standing between us and certain starvation. I do not know what I will say to his family, only that he was felled by the very emblem which best described him. I hope you and others will one day understand what we were forced to do here, and only our Maker can judge us now.
September 21, 1:00 PM
This “Big Blue Madness” has spread like wildfire among the ranks. I survey the territory to see tents felled, their inhabitants wandering and murmuring. Brothers are taking up fists against brothers for the last few wrapped candies and chicken-wings, and the wails of the forlorn rise up to the afternoon sky. As I look ahead of our tent, I can see that four of the five parties ahead of us seem to be in frenzied disarray and I can only hope they abort their endeavours as it would surely mean better odds of our getting good seats. The only thing that saves me now is the thought of a new season starting anew, with refreshed hopes and dreams of what we as a team are capable of accomplishing, as only that can put the chaos and ruthlessness of these past days behind us. I swear by you, Margaret, that I will be in the lower level when that Phoenix rises again in October, and it will mark the beginnings of a glorious new age. Tomorrow is the zenith, and I count the hours until that moment. Peace to you and the children and I hope to return with promising news.