The year is 2045. Scott Frost is in his 27th season as the head football coach of the Nebraska Minor League Professional Football team.
After closing the door to his truck, Scott Frost, pushed the green button on the dash of his 2042 Chevrolet Silverado-Air. The buzzing sound from the ignition of the batteries would not be audible outside of five feet.
“Home.” Frost said to the vehicle. The tone of the command given to his truck was part exasperation and part exhalation. “Take me home.” The slightly feminine voice responded to his command, “Destination. Home. Is this confirmed?”
“Confirmed,” said Frost.
The silver Chevrolet Silverado-Air’s anti-gravity boosters lifted the truck up into the air and sent him to his house in a small town outside of Kearney, NE.
On most commutes, Coach Frost would spend his time reviewing game film or sending mobile holograms to potential recruits. Yet, he did none of those things tonight. He sat back in his truck and closed his eyes.
Then there was a vibration on the inside of his inner-ear. It was a message from his wife. “Give me a call when you can.” He blinked his eyes once to file the message away.
Scott looked out over the horizon of Nebraska. One of the most beautiful features about the mid-western state were the sunsets, but even those only last for a handful of minutes. Then there is only darkness.
After several minutes passed Scott decided to call his wife back. He blinked twice to bring the message up in front of his face. Blinked twice again to return the call.
His wife answered the message in her bedroom. She was alone. He could tell she had been crying. This caused a tear from Coach Frost’s face to dribble down his cheek.
Then they both smiled. “You did it,” she said.
“No, we did it. We did it!” He replied.
He raised both his fists in the air. “We did it!” They both yelled as loud as their lungs would allow. “I love you.”
“I love you too. I’ll see you when you get home.”
After a few minutes his truck arrived above his five-story steel-reinforced house. The truck hovered above the skylight as it slowly opened. Then the truck descended into his garage.
Scott jumped out and ran inside. His children were waiting for him. All twelve of them. They all surrounded him. He made sure to hug each of them one. One at a time. He wanted to remember this moment forever.
After several hours of celebrating with his family, Scott retreated to his office on the fifth floor. After descending the fourth flight of stairs, he turned left into a long hallway. His office was at the far end.
It was dark. Scott tapped the wall. Nothing happened.
He tapped the wall again. Nothing. “What is wrong with the lights?”
Frost carefully proceeded down the hallway in the dark. He did not want to knock the pictures of his former players and teammates off the wall.
Then he felt a rush of cold air come from behind him. The picture immediately to his right was knocked off the wall. The glass broke. Then he heard a slight voice pass along his ear.
“Hey Matt, nice catch.”
Scott turned back toward the staircase. There was nothing there. Scott knows he heard something. He turned back toward his office as a second rush of cold air went past him.
This time there was no voice but there was the smell. He couldn’t quite explain what the smell was, but it was a combination of a lot of things. It was the smell of somebody who could have himself a good time.
Then he was careful to step around the broken picture on the carpet as he finally reached his office door. Frost reached his hand out to the door and stopped.
There were two voices coming from the inside of the office. He immediately recognized the two voices on the other side of the door. “It couldn’t be,” Frost said to himself in the hallway, “I have to be hearing things.”
He opened the door and stepped through. The room was completely black. He tried turning on the lights by tapping the wall but they wouldn’t turn on.
It was him.
“Yes, Scott, it’s me.” The slightly blue apparition standing in front of him was a man wearing a bulging headset and red blazer. Scott recognized him right away it was his former football coach at Nebraska.
Coach Osborne waved his hand at the second apparition on the other side of the desk as if to introduce himself. This second apparition appeared to be a heavier set man wearing a fedora and also a red blazer. Scott recognized the second apparition as well. Before he said anything the ghost of Coach Osborne interjected.
“Coach Devaney and I wanted to congratulate you on winning your first national championship at Nebraska.”
“Took you long enough,” said Coach Bob Devaney.
“It took him just the right amount of time, Bob,” replied Coach Tom Osborne.
Coach Frost couldn’t speak. He was staring at what he believed to be the ghosts of two titans of Nebraska football. He didn’t know what to say.
“We also wanted to welcome you to our fraternity. Currently, it is a fraternity of two. But once you die, then we become a fraternity of three.”
“When I die?”
“Yes Scott, when you die. You will be joining us,” replied Coach Devaney.
“So are you guys in heaven?”
“Are you in hell?”
“Well, no not really.”
“Oh it’s purgatory.”
“Well not quite.”
“Then what is it?”
There were a few moments of silence before the ghost of Coach Osborne responded.
“Well Scott. All we know is that if you win a National Championship at Nebraska then you come here when you die. To hang out with us.”
Scott began pacing back and forth. “But what about the after-life? You know. Heaven.”
Devaney laughed. “Well it sure looks like somebody else decided this was our heaven. Or hell. Again we really aren’t sure.”
Frost quickly replied and he became noticeably more irritated as time went on, “What about my family? My friends? Do I get to see them?”
“Sure doesn’t look like it. It is just us. You, me and Bob,” said Coach Osborne. “Well it will be just me and Bob until you die. But isn’t it nice to know where you will be going when the time comes?
“No. I don’t think so. I don’t want to spend my after-life with you and Bob. I want to spend it with my family, friends and God.”
Coach Osborne began to look a little irritated as well. “But you won a national championship at Nebraska. With us is where you belong now. As a part of the fraternity.”
“Plus, we get to talk about football,” Coach Devaney interjected. “Football is pretty much all we talk about. Like...like...remember in 1997 when you threw that pass to Shevin Wiggins and he kicked it off his feet and Matt Davison caught it?” Devaney rubbed his eyes. “Who was that against again?”
“Missouri,” said Frost.
“Ya that was a nice catch by Matt,” said Osborne.
“See Scott. You, Coach Osborne and I get to talk about football all the time. All the time. Forever.”
Osborne, repeated the sentiment of Devaney, but in a slightly underwhelmed tone. “Yes. Football. All the time. It is all we are allowed to talk about.”
“Says who?” Ask Frost.
“Says the person who set up the rules.”
“Well there has to be a way out. Maybe there is something I can do so I am not stuck with you two. Any ideas?”
Coach Osborne floated toward Frost. “Sit down Scott. I need to explain something to you.”
Frost sat in his hover chair. He looked up at the ghost of his mentor.
“When Bob here told me about my fate I didn’t believe him. I didn’t want to believe him. So I went ahead and won two more national championships. But I couldn’t get over the fact of what Bob told me in 1994. So I decided to retire. I knew it would set off a chain reaction. I figured that if winning a national championship would get me into the fraternity, then maybe doing the exact opposite to the program would get me out. So I did what I needed to do and I retired.
“The administration hired Frank, which unfortunately put him in an unwinnable position. Then there was the hiring of Callahan, then Pelini, and then Riley. The deed was done. I had done enough to put the program back several decades. I was safe. There was no way I would end up hanging out with Bob for the rest of eternity.
“But then you showed up and ruined everything. I didn’t realize it at first, but I must have had enough of an influence on you through my coaching that I have some how been given enough credit for your success and I was thrust back into this Nebraska coaching fraternity.
“Maybe everything I did was for nothing. I am still trying to make sense of this myself.”
Coach Frost got up from the chair and walked toward the door. “Well Coach Osborne, I appreciate everything you did for me in the past. But I need to do what is in the best interest of my own soul. I need to make sure I don’t end up here with you two. Obviously, if ruining the program for two decades isn’t enough, then I’ll have to take it several steps further.”
“Like what?” Ask Coach Devaney.
“I don’t know, but I will have to ruin everything I’ve built.”
“Thanks, I think I’ll need it. I will probably have to take my family into hiding at some point.”
Frost opened the door and turned back toward Coach Osborne and Coach Devaney. “Well I hope this is a final goodbye.” And he took two steps into the hallway and shut the door behind him.
A few cold silent moments in the dark office went by before Coach Osborne finally broke the silence. He was dejected and again was alone with Coach Devaney.
“Well, I have a feeling we will still be seeing Scott in the future. What do you think Bob?”
“So about the 3-4 defense—”
“Oh Bob, just shut the...”