Roddy Nelson sat quietly in his office for what he was sure would be the last time. Leaning back in his leather chair he wondered how it all went so wrong.
He’d been the Athletic Director of the Apaloosa State University Hippos for sixteen years. During his tenure, Apaloosa State had thirteen winning football seasons; four times winning conference championships. Then there was the thrilling run to the division 2A nation championship in 2002. All that good will would not protect him from the furor over homecoming 2010.
How was he to know that hippos were such miserable creatures? Initially it seemed like a perfect plan. Holding a hippo petting zoo before the homecoming game was sure to draw a crowd. During a one and six season he figured it couldn’t hurt. He borrowed a hippo from a local private zoo. A riser was built to allow people closer access to the huge animal.
Before the attraction even opened things started to unravel. The handlers did their best to contain the wild animal, but a wooden picket fence was no match for it’s power. The screaming fans only seemed to anger it more. Three trucks did their best to herd the hippo away from the crowd, but no one guessed that a hippo could roll a pickup truck so easily.
Then it plowed through a sorority house. There was screaming, so much screaming. One girl jumped from the second floor window only to land on the back of hippo. Roddy didn’t know such immense animals could run so fast. The sorority girl rode it longer than anyone expected. It wasn’t until it broke through the backyard fence that she was knocked to safety.
For thirty long minutes the animal raged. The police brought in experts from the local area, anyone who might help end the catastrophe.
It wasn’t until the hippo settled into a neighborhood pool that Roddy’s career truly came to a spectacular end. The pool usurped by the hippo belonged to Harold Kunze, President of Apaloosa State University. Even worse was that his wife was enjoying a swim when the hippo crashed through the fence and dove in beside her.
Roddy gathered a few personal items from his desk, turned off the light and closed the closed the door. Tomorrow he’d meet with President Kunze. At least the Hippos won the homecoming game.