Commentary

When friend becomes foe

Updated: March 2, 2010, 9:10 AM ET
By Carl Ehrlich | Special to ESPNBoston.com

Editor's note: Carl Ehrlich, who was the captain of the 2009 Harvard football team, is in Spain to play football. He's chronicling his experiences on and off the field for ESPNBoston.com. Today he puts friendship aside (sort of) with first place on the line.

An Open Letter to Sean Hayes

Sean,

You remember last summer, right? When we lived together? You must.

You remember all those times you slept on the couch while I cleaned the kitchen? Or put empty milk cartons back in the fridge? Or left standing water in the bathroom after a shower?

And who could forget your 1989 "Do the Right Thing" boom box and how many of my naps it ruined?

You remember all those things, right, Sean?

Because I sure do.

Yes, we've been friends for five years. Yes, we lived together last summer. Yes, you have become like a brother to me.

No, I will show you no mercy next week. You will pay for those unwashed dishes.

Frankly, Sean, you can't say you didn't bring this on yourself. You signed with the L'Hospitalet Pioners after I signed with the Firebats. You knew they were our bitter rival. You just had to poke your big nose into this, didn't you?

Now look where that's got us. With the Pioners at 2-1 and the Firebats at (cough, cough) 3-0, we're playing for first place in the league. First place in the league? Everyone else in my life has been nothing but supportive in my quest for a national championship. You, on the other hand, are standing in the way.

And with you at linebacker and me on the offensive line, you will, quite literally, be standing in the way.

That's fine, though. Really. I've long since washed my hands of this "friendship" nonsense, and it's business as usual. Do not expect any special treatment.

I make only one promise: I will come prepared.

Despite the fact that power-lifting in a Spanish gym is like playing Death Metal at a Salsa club, I press on. Ask the three people who were nearly crushed under the cable machine I broke last week (true story) if I'm taking you lightly. You won't like (or, given your Spanish, understand) their response.

I have, as they say, been training like someone took something from me.

But you're taking "ultimate fighting" classes, eh? What my brother does is ultimate fighting, Hayes. What you do is watered down Tae-Bo. I went to the equivalent class at my gym yesterday and saw three pregnant women being taught by an 80-year-old man in bright yellow short shorts.

Are you preparing for a game or a back-alley mugging?

Actually, I'm not sure they'll be so different in your case. They both involve an angry, masked man whom you stand no chance against.

I know this is hard for you, Sean, but rest assured that everything will be back to normal Saturday night. Until the playoffs, that is.

Sleep tight. You'll need the rest.

Carl

P.S. I can still crash at your place after the game, right?

After captaining the 2009 Harvard Football team, Carl Ehrlich played professional football for the Valencia Firebats of Spain. Since hanging up his cleats, he has been filling up his passport doing humanitarian work in Southeast Asia. In addition to his travel notebooks, he has previously written for ESPNBoston.com and the New York Times.

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