A Story a Day #65: Irwin Shaw
April 27th, 2020
"The Eighty-Yard Run"
A man walks on a football field and remembers a remarkable play he once made. He thinks about being young and in love with his now wife. He remembers how much his life has changed in the fifteen years since. They got married after college and moved to New York together. He ran her father's business successfully until the Great Depression hit. She then got a job as a fashion editor and started hanging out with people that he doesn't really understand. They drift apart though they still love each other. Eventually he takes a job selling suits in his old town while she lives in New York. He wonders if he could've done something differently.
I was skeptical of this story at first because I don't really like football. In fact, I didn't find the protagonist likeable at all. He has a great girlfriend and wife (who he cheats on multiple times) and a good job (for a while) and he is successful. He falls on some hard times and ultimately starts feeling sorry for himself. It is his jealousy for his now-successful wife that prevents him from making any progress and then leads to the demise of their relationship. I do not really like the way he seems to play the victim in all this, as if he has no control over his own situation. Frankly, I think many people, especially men in sports, can relate to this story of their glory days and the disappointments afterwards. Life is messy and hard and you probably won't get to hear thousands of screaming fans again, but at least it happened.