Aside from a game on my birthday when I had a game where I picked a couple of interceptions and had a punt return for a touchdown–something I’d never done before and haven’t done since–I can’t remember a play I’ve been able to savor for so long than the one I had the Wednesday before Christmas during a league touch football game with City Sports Connection.
The best thing about my play was that not only did I not score on the play, I didn’t even touch the ball.
The play was designed for The Veteran as the primary receiver. He was to run a ten-yard out pattern on the right side. I was lined up as the slot receiver on the same side and it was my job to run a fly pattern to pull the safety with me and away from The Veteran.
I burst off the line, huffing and pufing, selling the bomb. The safety bought what I was selling, turning his back to the play and running with me stride for stride. I glanced over my shoulder and noticed out of the corner of my eye that The Veteran had caught his out route and had turned up field, having beat his defender.
All that stood betwen him and the end zone was my defender and I. So my job turned into keeping my defender as far away from The Veteran as possible. Toward that end, I started waving my right hand, as if to signal to my quarterback that I was open. My defender bought it, turning his running up a notch.
The guy followed me for another 15 yards when I noticed him turning his head to look back, so I stretched both arms out in front of me, pinkies touching, as if to catch the ball over my shoulder. That bought me enough attention from the defender to bring him down to about the 10 yard line. At that time I noticed him starting to look backfield again, so I stuck my right arm around him, as if I was trying to catch a poorly-thrown ball with one hand. That made him pay attention to that move and bought The Veteran just enough time to slip into the end zone before my defender figured out that The Vet had the ball.
"David, you ROCK!" The Vet said as he crossed into the end zone.
One of the great things about playing sports, is when you make a great play, you’ve got the memory of that play to carry around with you until the next great play. Conversely, bad plays can haunt you in just the same way.
And that is why it helps to play as often as I do; currently, three times a week: Wednesday and Thursday in league games, and our normal year-round Saturday pick up touch football game.
So, I’ve been carrying around the memory of this play for longer than normal because we only had four people show up last Saturday, Christmas Eve; any plays I made are mitigated by the fact that with two-on-twos, it’s easy to make plays.
But some plays, like my aforementioned punt return, will stand out for a long time to come. The deception play will be one of those that will bring a grin to my face every time I think of it.