Saturday, May 8, 2010

Defending the Flag

Hike! The quarterback accepts the ball and drops back. The receivers scatter into their routes and the defense proceeds to lock down their territory. The lone pass rusher puts pressure on the quarterback as he makes a bee line toward him. Just as the passer feels the pressure, he cocks back his arm and slingshots the ball forward. The ball is like a bullet, piercing the air as it is rushing to the target. Just as the ball crosses the goal line and the receiver readies his body to welcome the ball and the touchdown, the middle defender leaps between the ball and the receiver and intercepts the ball. The defender brings the ball close to his body, and his legs start to kick into gear and launches forward like a locomotive. The shocked offense is frozen in time as possession changes, then accelerates into action. The ball carrier is now rumbling in the direction of his goal line as the pack closes in fast. The sun is baking the field and the overtime period has taken its toll on all the players. The runner is overheating and his feet hit the ground like they are seeping into wet sand. The pack is on top of him and a hand stretches out and takes hold of the flag. The clasp slowly unhinges and the flag unwraps from the runners waist, hits the air like a parachute and lands peacefully on the floor. The sound of the whistle snaps all eyes off the resting flag and look up. Game over. The defender picks up his flag and walks to his teammates in a huddle. Little victories save big wars. "Good Game" is uttered by both teams during the hand shake parade. No losers today but no winners either. A tie is recorded on each team's record. Three weeks from now we play each other again. There will be no tie next time.


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