By hiding under the bleachers, Rabbit is able to listen to the players' memories without intruding on their reverent and almost sacred space.
Rabbit has a great appreciation for Rake, who spared him from complete ruin years earlier. After teaching for eleven years at the high school, it was discovered that Rabbit had never even completed ninth grade himself. He was immediately fired, but Rake succeeded in hiring Rabbit as an assistant athletic director, giving Rabbit a purpose and a sense of accomplishment. For years, Rabbit had faithfully worked to help Rake and his team of players: driving the bus, maintaining equipment, and cleaning uniforms. Now that Rake is dying, Rabbit has begun his own vigil:
The lights on the south end of the visitors' side came on, ten rows of ten lights each. Long shadows fell across the field.
"Been doing that for a week now," Paul said. "Rabbit leaves them on all night ... When Rake dies, the lights go out."
When Rabbit finds the former players gathered on the bleachers, he respects that they have reconvened to honor their former coach. Rabbit respects this sense of intimacy and bonding, and he hides under the bleachers. Although he was always there to support Rake, he was never a part of the team the same way that these men were. This is his way of honoring the work that Rake dedicated himself to:
In another era, he would have taken charge and ordered everyone away from the field. But those were Rake's boys up there, the chosen few.
Rabbit thus waits nearby, supporting the team from a distance, just as he did years prior.