Saturday Tradition presents: A Big Ten Christmas Carol
Welcome to Saturday Tradition Theater’s presentation of a Big Ten Christmas Carol.
Cast of Characters
- Commissioner Kevin Warren as Kevin “Scrooge” Warren
- Former Commissioner Jim Delany as Jim “Jacob Marley” Delany
- B1G players as Bob Cratchit
- Group of 5 schools as Tiny Tim
- Red Grange as The Galloping Ghost of Big Ten Past
- Lee Corso as The Ghost of Big Ten Present
- Mysterious Figure in a New England Patriots Hoodie as The Ghost of Big Ten Future
Act I, Scene I
BIG TEN HEADQUARTERS, DECEMBER 23
Commissioner KEVIN “SCROOGE” WARREN inspects the Big Ten’s ledger for 2022.
WARREN: This is our finest year yet! Two teams in the College Football Playoff! Take that, SEC! And on top of that, I’ve established the nation’s first coast-to-coast college conference with the addition of USC and UCLA in 2024!
But most important of all, I’ve made money. A 7-year, $7-billion media rights contract that makes us the richest conference of them all!
BOB “B1G PLAYERS” CRATCHIT enters Warren’s office.
CRATCHIT: Excuse me, sir…
WARREN: Cratchit! Let me guess, you’re here to grovel for something.
CRATCHIT: Well if you don’t mind me sayin’, sir, I heard you mention $7 billion. And seein’ as how I haven’t gotten a raise in 126 years, I was thinkin’ that maybe me and the boys could finally get a cut of that action.
CRATCHIT: Mayhaps I’ll bring a petition to Parliament…
WARREN: Now, now Cratchit, no need to act rashly! Just be patient. I’m sure we’ll work something out.
CRATCHIT: Thanks for your consideration, sir.
Cratchit begins to leave the office.
WARREN: Oh, Cratchit! I’m going to need you to work, er, student-athlete, through the rest of the holidays. It’s bowl season, you see.
CRATCHIT: All of my best teammates are going to sit out to prepare for the draft, but I suppose I don’t have much choice. Speaking of drafts, it’s a bit cold in here and we could use some more coal for the —
WARREN: Coal!?! Humbug! No more using that infernal mineral. We’re trying to get LEED-certified, you simpleton!
Act I, Scene 2
BOB CRATCHIT’S DORM ROOM
A downtrodden Cratchit enters the room, where TINY “GROUP OF 5” TIM awaits him.
TINY TIM: Any luck getting some of that money?
CRATCHIT: ‘Fraid not, Tim. Unless it’s done through a third party.
TINY TIM: Will I still be around in 10 years?
CRATCHIT: Of course, Tim, of course. Just don’t ask me about 20 years.
Act I, Scene 3
LATE NIGHT AT KEVIN WARREN’S MANOR
Warren has had strange visions all day, though he attributes it to a late lunch with UCLA alum Bill Walton. Former Big Ten commissioner JIM DELANY’S face appears on his door knocker, which is definitely unusual. He doesn’t recall even having a door knocker.
DELANY’S FACE: Warren! Warren!
A spooked Warren runs to his room and changes into his sleeping cap and pajamas.
WARREN: What was in those brownies?
The clanking of chains can be heard outside Warren’s bedroom. Delany barges through the door, shocking Warren.
DELANY: It was unlocked.
WARREN: Jim, what are you doing in chains? You’re still alive.
DELANY: It’s actually an excellent workout to keep my bones from growing brittle. But that’s not why I’m here. You will be visited by 3 ghosts …
DELANY: So you can prevent making the same mistakes that I did.
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WARREN: Mistakes? What mistakes? We’re rolling in the dough!
DELANY: I added Rutgers, Kevin. Rutgers! If you’re not careful, overexpansion will be the end of you!
Delany moonwalks out the door.
DELANY: The first ghost will arrive at the strike of midnight!
Act II, Scene I
An alarm goes off on Warren’s phone at midnight.
WARREN: Huh. I don’t remember setting an alarm …
A gust of wind blows from outside, opening all of the windows. RED “GALLOPING GHOST” GRANGE, Illinois’ star running back from 1923-25, floats into the room in full uniform.
WARREN: What was in that Sleepytime Tea?
GRANGE: Say, pal, it’s me, Red Grange. The Real McCoy. In the flesh. Well, not flesh, exactly. It’s more of a —
WARREN: What are you doing in my room?
GRANGE: They tell me you’re the big cheese in the Big Ten these days. And I’m the ghost of Big Ten past. So how’s about you join me for a bull session?
Grange hands Warren a leather helmet and they fly out the window.
Act II, Scene 2
UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, 1946
Warren and Grange arrive as Chicago’s Board of Trustees votes to drop out of the Big Ten.
WARREN: Wait! You fools! Stick around and get your cut of a billion bucks!
GRANGE: It’s too late. They can’t hear you.
WARREN: Then why are we here? Isn’t the whole point of going back in time to change the outcome of events?
GRANGE: It’s a lesson. The University of Chicago thought college sports were becoming too commercial and distracting from the academic mission. So it left the very conference it helped found.
WARREN: But making money is the point!
GRANGE: Sure, makin’ cabbage is great. But do you think the UCLA volleyball team is going to be thinking about that when they’re flying to a match at Purdue? You can’t do this forever without giving players a cut of the jack.
WARREN: A cut of what?
GRANGE: You know, Samolians! Lettuce! Spinach! Scratch! Dough!
WARREN: Money? You could just say money.
GRANGE: That’s applesauce.
Act II, Scene 3
Warren wakes up in his bed.
WARREN: What a weird dream. The best football player in the Big Ten went to Illinois.
Warren takes another sip of his Sleepytime Tea.
WARREN: At least I can get some rest now.
LEE CORSO bursts through a wall like the Kool-Aid Man.
CORSO: Not so fast, my friend!
WARREN: Lee Corso, what are you doing here? And who is your lawyer, because I intend to sue for those damages.
CORSO: Listen sweetheart, I’m the ghost of Big Ten present. And that wall was about as sturdy as Indiana’s defense. You’re lucky it didn’t fall on someone before they sued you!
WARREN: That doesn’t explain why you’re here. At all.
Corso puts on a mascot version of Bob Cratchit’s head.
CORSO: We have somebody to go visit!
Act II, Scene 4
CRATCHIT’S DORM ROOM
Corso and Warren arrive at Cratchit’s dorm. Cratchit and Tiny Tim are eating ramen for Christmas Eve dinner.
TINY TIM: Bless this meal.
WARREN: Aw, who’s that little fella?
CORSO: That’s Tiny Tim. With the big conferences consolidating and battling for media contracts, we don’t even know if he’s going to survive.
WARREN: In that case, I’m sure 1 of our teams could use an extra pair of crutches.
CORSO: Ahh, [bleep] it.
Corso leaves Warren behind.
Act II, Scene 5
A STREET WITH ONLY ONE FUNCTIONING STREETLIGHT
Warren is walking back toward his manor when he is approached from the shadows by a mysterious figure in a faded New England Patriots hoodie. His face is obscured. This is THE GHOST OF BIG TEN FUTURE.
A frightened Warren obeys the terrifying Ghost’s silent command to join him. They arrive at Big Ten headquarters in the year 2044.
BIG TEN HEADQUARTERS
An unidentified figure who is clearly the new Big Ten commissioner is giving a press conference.
NEW BIG TEN COMMISSIONER: We were left with no choice but to expand yet again after the SEC added its 32nd team.
So it is with great pleasure that I welcome to the Big Ten family, Arizona State University!
WARREN: No! No! I can change!
Act III, Scene 1
Morning has broken. Waking up in a cold sweat, Warren opens his front bedroom window to let in some cold air. He notices a young STREET URCHIN in the street below.
WARREN: Say, you there! What are you doing here? I didn’t think we had urchins in this neighborhood.
URCHIN: I’m lookin’ for Christmas gifts, sir. Me family didn’t get me none, on account a bein’ dead and all.
WARREN: Christmas gifts? What day is this?
URCHIN: It’s Christmas, sir!
WARREN: Christmas! A Merry Christmas to you, lad! Do you know the prize goose at the butcher shop? Is it still there?
URCHIN: Of course I know it. I spend most of me days fantasizing about meats. And of course the goose is still there, sir! Who the hell eats goose?
WARREN: I’ll tell you exactly who! Allow me to Venmo you this Dogecoin so we can enjoy a Christmas feast!
Act III, Scene 2
CRATCHIT’S DORM ROOM
Warren has brought the urchin, Big Ten coaches and university presidents to Cratchit’s crowded dorm room for a Christmas feast.
WARREN: I have seen the light! Players, rest assured that you will receive a cut of this and all future media rights bounties!
WARREN: And Tiny Tim, we must put an end to all this expansion madness and make sure there’s always a place for you at the table. I don’t know what I was even thinking trying to make college football more like the NFL. The NFL has weird, soulless coaches who show up to scare you in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve.
TINY TIM: God bless us, every one!