In Isaac's office, Isaac asks Jeremy why he was lying just now. Dana asks if he thought they wouldn't find out. "What the hell happened out there?" says Isaac. Jeremy tries to pretend it was nothing, but Dana says he was taken to the hospital, he passed out, he was sweating and hyperventilating. Jeremy finally starts to tell them what happened, starting with the first day, when they were going after the New England blue mallard. He lists every single technical specification of the rifles they were using and sums it up with, "So I figured we must be going after a pretty dangerous duck." Because this is exactly the right time to make smart-ass comments, when your superiors are breathing fire at you. Isaac says as much. So Jeremy starts telling the story of shooting the deer the next day. I'm not going to transcribe the whole speech here, because it's about three whole minutes, but it was really well done. He explained that almost the whole day had gone by and they hadn't found anything. During a break in the shooting, Jeremy sat down by a stream with the care package Natalie gave him. Then he saw three deer, "small, bigger, biggest; recognizable to any species on the face of the planet as a child, a mother and a father." He explained that he held up a Twinkie and the mother "clopped up to [him] like [they] were at a party." By then the other guys had noticed the deer, and Bob told him to move away. "So I backed away a couple of steps at a time, and I closed my eyes when I heard the shot." Then, my favourite line of the speech: "Look, I know these are dumb animals and they don't play bridge or go to the prom but you can't tell me the little one didn't know who his mother was!" Of course, then I started flashing back to Bambi's-mother-dying nightmares.
Next, Jeremy says that, at the hospital, Bob was going on about the tradition and nobility of hunting (he doesn't say anything about Bob frequently referring to him as a "pussy"), which Jeremy denounces as a load of crap and talks about the Indian respect for the land and its animals and the necessity of hunting for survival. Okay, wait, here is my favourite line: "What we did wasn't food and it wasn't shelter and it sure as hell wasn't sports." Amen. In a recent discussion in Sports Illustrated about whether or not hunting is a sport, I think a reader summed it up best when he said, and I'm paraphrasing, "How can it be a sport when one of the competitors doesn't know it's a competition?" Isaac wants to know why Jeremy didn't mention how he felt about hunting, and Jeremy says it was because Isaac told him he'd spoken to his old boss. Isaac says he spoke to all his old bosses, and Jeremy figures they all said pretty much the same thing. Isaac says yes: "They all said that Jeremy Goodwin is a bright guy with a world-class understanding of popular sports, but that he didn't quite fit in and there was little chance that he'd advance in their organization." Jeremy points out he has $80,000 in student loans to pay back. Good god, is he a heart surgeon? "My instincts told me to shut the hell up and do what I was told," says Jeremy. Isaac: "Your instincts were wrong." Jeremy: "Not fitting in is how qualified people lose jobs." Isaac: "Yeah, but a lot of the time it's how they end up working here." Okay, I snorted a little bit at this image of Sports Night as some sort of last-chance group home for wayward sports journalists. I wouldn't say they're the strangest collection of oddballs ever assembled.