An RU Christmas Carol

<b>Christmas 2004</b> ---- Standing on the Landing Lane Bridge, hands poised to spring over the rail is Bob Mulcahy. With a look of wild desperation, he prepares to jump into the banks of the Old Raritan. Suddenly a figure adorned in a leather helmet and faded red jersey with a large R on the front hurdles the railing into the icy water.

Christmas 2004----Standing on the Landing Lane Bridge, hands poised to spring over the rail is Bob Mulcahy. With a look of wild desperation, he prepares to jump into the banks of the Old Raritan. Suddenly a figure adorned in a leather helmet and faded red jersey with a large R on the front hurdles the railing into the icy water. Big Bob forgetting his problems dives in after him and pulls the strangely adorned man ashore. A few minutes later, safely ensconced by a warm fire in the Rutgers boathouse, he asks the man who he is. Why I am Ernie Scabenski, wingback on the 1901 Scarlet Knights, but more to the point, I am your guardian angel.

"You're my what?" Bob stammers through chattering teeth.

Ernie just looks at Bob and smiles benevolently. "Well, really who are you?" insists Bob.

"I told you", replies Ernie, "I'm your guardian angel and I was sent to earth to save your life."

Bob surveys the man, leather helmet, tattered jersey and pants, about five feet seven, 167-pounds soaking wet and says, and "Well you look like the kind of guardian angel that I would get." Ernie asks Bob why he is so despondent and Bob goes on to tell Ernie all about the 4-7 season, the absence of top-25 NJ players considering Rutgers and his deep fears that he might never turn the Rutgers football program around. Finally, he cries out in desperation to Ernie--- "I wish I had never been born."

Ernie looks sympathetically at Bob and then an idea hits him like a bolt of lightning.

"Ok, your wish is granted. You've never been born." A gust of wind picks up, blowing the old boathouse door open. Bob reaching for his clothes finds to his surprise that they are toasty warm.

Bob and Ernie set off in the snow for the Hale Center and as Bob walks in he is greeted by sustained applause that he thinks is meant for him. But to Bob's surprise, Rutgers Associate Athletic Director Kevin McConnell strides out to the podium.

To a hushed audience, he says, " Here to introduce the next Rutgers football coach is RU Athletic Director, William C. Dowling."

Bob lets out a blood-curdling scream, but of course no one can hear him because he no longer exists. Pigskin Bill as his friends affectionately call him surveys the audience.

"Before introducing our next head coach, I would like to announce that starting in 2005, we will be playing a full Patriot League schedule for the first time."

This is met with wild applause by the men and women in the audience and the rhythmic friction of all the tweed rubbing together, sets the room temperature up a full 10 degrees.

"Now for the reason you have come here." Standing behind the AD, Bob immediately recognizes the man, but takes a double take to make sure he is seeing correctly. No, it can't be, but it is------as Athletic Director Dowling introduces Gary Darnell as the next Rutgers coach.

Bob can't take it. He runs out of the Hale Center with Ernie in tow. On the way out, Bob grabs a Rutgers media guide, surveys it and starts asking Ernie questions in rabid fire succession.

"Where is Brian Leonard?"

"He is the all-time leading Syracuse runner, eclipsing the records of Jim Brown, Floyd Little and Larry Csonka."

"And Tres Moses?"

"All-time wide receiver at the University of South Florida."

"What about Jeremy Ito?"

"Well Bob, he set the freshman kicking record at UCLA."

"Zuttah?"

"Ohio State."

"Ryan Neil?"

"Pittsburgh."

By now, Bob is beside himself.

"What happened? I hired Greg Schiano. We put together four solid recruiting classes?"

"Ernie looking thoughtfully at Bob said, "Greg Schiano was never hired because you weren't there to hire him."

"Well, who has been the coach these past four years?"

"Uh, Bob, Fred Gruninger extended Terry Shea's contract through the 2004 season."

"And our record the last four years?"

Ernie hesitates, almost afraid to tell Bob. "Well Bob, the team has won 3 games in the past four years."

"That just can't be," cries Bob.

"Well tell me one more thing Ernie, where is Greg Schiano?"

"Oh, you're not going to like it," responded Ernie. At this point Bob grabs the ancient Rutgers jersey and demands that Ernie show him where Greg Schiano is. Next thing Bob knows, he is standing on the sidelines in the New Orleans Superdome as Greg Schiano leads his number 1 ranked Hurricanes out onto the field to play USC for the National Championship.

"Get me out of here Ernie. Take me back. Take me back."

Bob is now standing again at the Landing Lane Bridge. A car stops on the bridge and a man rolls down the window.

"Bob, what the hell are you doing out here?" Bob squints into the darkened car. It is Greg Schiano and his family returning from Christmas shopping.

"Oh, Greg, I am so glad to see you. Are you real? Are you real Greg?"

"What are you talking about Bob? Get in the car. We are heading home to trim the tree. Want to join us?"

Bob hops into the car and the Schianos and Bob Mulcahy head down the road to the sound of the Old Queens church bells.


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