By Billy Witz | The New York Times
As James Slade Jr., a freshman studying physiology, sat in the University of Arizona student section Saturday night watching another football game gone wrong, he wasn’t thinking much about the missed tackles, the wayward passes or the other shortcomings that added up to the Wildcats’ 17th consecutive defeat.
Instead, he was enchanted by the green grass, wondering how it would feel under his feet.
“That’s all I was thinking about — how great it would be to be down there,” Slade said.
And so there Slade was three nights later, among 59 hopefuls who turned up for an open tryout Tuesday to join the Wildcats in the middle of what has become another trying season. Maybe sitting somewhere in a psychology class was a future Patrick Mahomes waiting to be discovered — or even just a willing tackling dummy who might be useful in practice.
They arrived with varying ambitions, one with a skateboard tucked under his arm and another with a mouthful of gold teeth, and came in all shapes, sizes and even genders — though five women who stood in line were turned away and told they did not have the proper paperwork.