Pro football players are adults who fly through the air in plastic hats and smash each other for a living. I now know a bunch of them, and I think they are good folks. They are made up, loosely speaking, of rickety knees, indoctrination, upward mobility, pain tolerance, public fantasies, meanness, high spirits, brightly colored uniforms, fear, techniques, love of games, Nutrament (a diet supplement used, sometimes with steroid drugs, for "bulking up"), corporate kinesthesia, God-given quickness, and heart.
Sober, one of them told me, "What it boils down to is, sacrifice your body with a picture in your mind." Drinking, one of them told me, "When I'm on the football field I'm a knight in shining armor. When I'm selling insurance I'm just an asshole." Stoned, one of them told me, "You can be hit so hard it burns." High on the game he had just played, one of them told me, "There was no other world outside it. There was nothing."
Tags: Roy Blount Jr., Steelers