You can hear the cries. You can hear them everywhere. From Mike Duffy’s off Clayton, to Stan’s on the Southside, to the Arena Bar in Dogtown, to the hollow streets of Downtown echoing up and down the Mississippi River Valley. And those cries…at the top of their lungs ring out…
The battle cry of the majestic BattleHawk is one without peers. Is it real, is it fantasy, is it the creation of grown men on message boards who have decided that KaKaw is the hill they will die on? These questions have been tearing through the corridors of the internet since the team announced its name. Let me, an accomplished sportswriter beyond reproach, lay this to rest.
I’ve done boundless research. My St. Louis County Library Card is frayed at its edges. I have consulted every book on Ornithology I could find. I even consulted by dear friend the Dr. Todd Jones-Farrand of the University of Missouri. In all of his decades of studies he had not come across the BattleHawk.
Was it all a fake? Was this a lie propagated by the XFL to fool us all in St. Louis? Were we so hungry for football we’d fall for anything?
I was questioning everything…
Then…I found it.
I was digging through the endless stacks of books in the basement of the BookHouse in downtown Maplewood, MO. The cover was unrecognizable. It wasn’t a final copy, it wasn’t an early edition, it was before the final edit. It was the 1st draft of “On the Origin of the Species” by Dr. Charles Darwin. Did they know what they had??? This has to be worth a fortune! An unpublished draft of a work of this statue??
The pages were brittle. The corners cracked upon touch. So I sat there on the basement couch and scanned every single page till I found the passage. I, W.E. Sauls…son of Willard, Grandson of Estel… found the only written description of the BattleHawk in history.
There it was…on page 236…
“I have found nested upon the shores of these foreign islands a bird I shall dub the BattleHawk. Wings with feathers so majestic one’s eyes water upon a mere glance. Talons as sharp as any sword in Napoleon’s army. The sound the bird lets out upon its lightning fast swoop towards hopeless prey is bone rattling. The only way to describe it is, “KAKAW!!!!” I’ve awoken in a fright every evening the past fortnight with the call of the BattleHawk echoing through my mind.
I’ve seen this bird grab a viper in its talons and play with it as if it were a mere blade of island grass. Then, just as it looked as though mercy would be given, the BattleHawk devoured the head of the viper and dropped its lifeless body into a lagoon. The violence and delight in the eyes of the bird was horrifying. They looked like a river ablaze. This image shall haunt me till my grave is dug and I am placed in it.
If these birds could be captured and trained…an army’s power would be limitless.” -Dr. C. Darwin
I couldn’t believe it. I had discovered history. I needed a picture of this now. I grabbed my phone from my pocket… Then…the lights clicked off. With a fright I dropped the book back into the piles and piles of books. I could not find it in the pitch blackness.
I heard an English voice from above, “We’re closed sir. I must be leaving now.” I ran to the top of the stairs. Please, I begged. Turn back on the lights. “They’re on a timer,” he responded. “I have no control. Now really sir, I must be leaving.”
I returned the next morning the moment they opened. I tore down the stairs. But it was to no avail. I dug and dug, but the book was gone. You must trust me, it was there. I swear it to you my fellow BattleHawks believers….I swear it.
The BattleHawk was real. Its extinction was caused by what, I do not know. But I trust the eyes and words of Darwin. Perhaps the bird was too powerful to exist. Perhaps it lays in wait. Perhaps it has been here all along.
One thing is for sure…its cry will be heard this Sunday in the Dome. It will be deafening. It will be piercing. It will be majestic.
It is…the cry of the BattleHawk!!!