Apparently, in the correct circumstances, the AFL is so fan-friendly that one can simply walk off the street and be invited on to the team. Joe O’Donnell, a friend of the Chicago Rush’s John Moyer, was attending the game with his wife when Paul Edinger got a bit of a groin tweak during pre-game. Faced with the prospect of having no kicker and embarrassingly being forced to deliver the ball to the other team by yelling “Waaaaarning: kickoff!” and throwing the ball downfield, Chicago mustered an impressment gang, who were instructed to roam the stands for able-bodied kickers (much to the dismay of James Madison, but to the ultimate delight of O’Donnell). With merely 15 minutes available between the injury and roster submission deadline, the Rush did what any right-thinking team would do: they provided “shoes, shorts, T-shirt and an emergency tryout,” and I hope ultimately a helmet and pads, but what do I know?
O’Donnell went 5/7 on extra points making him – a kicker who last kicked an oblong spheroid through ordinary-sized uprights in 2004 while trying out for the Chicago Bears – not tremendous, but certainly serviceable. The bad news, of course, is that he missed his first and last extra points in a 50-47 loss, and kicked the final onside kick directly to Troy Bergeron. Troy Bergeron doesn’t know how to make mistakes on the hands team. He’s heard of these “mistakes,” oh, yes, but he has no context in which to put the content, so the idea of error is meaningless.
Which is really a damn shame, because you know that if it came down to a field goal to tie, and this guy made it, Disney would have bought the rights to the story on the spot. (Note: Joe – prepare to take dictation. We shall call it… THE LONLIEST GYPSY KICKER.)
In any event, bravo, Joe O’Donnell: to kick 5 extra points cold in a professional game means you have some serious intestinal fortitude, friend. Ice water in the veins. A large set of cojones. ONIONS.
[Thanks, in part, to Sam, who insisted I make note of this in a timely fashion.]