Football hero

One year in high school I signed up for the football team.

It was good exercise but I was no match for the guys that had been playing for years.

I was placed on the ‘B’ squad. We only scrimmaged against the ‘A’ team for their training. Usually they ran right over us with every play they tried.

Just one time, though, I grabbed some glory.

The coaches came up with a new play called the ‘fullback buck pass’. The idea was that the fullback would take the ball, run up to the offensive line as though he was going to plunge ahead for a yard or two. At the last instant he would leap into the air and fire a short pass to a receiver who had run around behind us.

Playing the defensive position of linebacker, I rushed toward center of the line as I saw the fullback lunge forward. As he leaped upward to pass the ball, I instinctively leaped up with him. As he fired the pass I stuck my arm up into the air and deflected the football upward.

Somehow the ball came tumbling straight down into my hands.

As I started to run with the ball, the intended receiver tackled me.

After the play the assistant coach shouted, “Nice work, Johnson!”

It was only scrimmage, but I like to think that my interception proved that the play was faulty. I don’t think the coaches ever used that play in an actual game. Maybe my interception saved our team a turnover or two.

For my part, it was a tiny moment of glory that I’ll never forget.

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