The Gift of a Football

I never ask the ocean for anything. It simply delivers what it delivers and often moves in delightful, mysterious ways when it comes to gifts.

Such as couple days ago. I had been hunting thrift and grocery stores for a football, any kind of football, because I wanted to wing it around with a buddy on Thanksgiving.

No luck. No winging the football on Thanksgiving, which seemed as unAmerican as a Presidential candidate refusing to respect the majority will of the voters.

So there I was on the beach on a fine bright and cold morning, a football morning, and there it was! A Nerf football in the foam. I couldn’t believe it! The ocean had delivered a football on the morning high tide.

I picked it up. It was in mint condition, not a bit soggy. I feigned a throw. I cradled it under my armpit with textbook halfback form.

A white wave rolled in and I had to dodge foam and driftwood. I was moving like Gayle Sayers in open field: I stiff armed and dead legged would-be wave tacklers. I high-stepped through the piles of kelp. Jesus, I was a kid again scoring touchdowns for Mt. Pleasant Elementary and Gardner Junior High in Oregon City when I loved playing football with my friends until one day I didn’t when simple-minded adults with immature agendas took over the coaching and made it about themselves and not their players. I never did that when I coached football.

I kept moving down the beach and approached my complex of 16 forts. A great gridiron notion exploded into my mind and I let loose a bomb toward one of the forts and the fort swallowed it up. A perfect catch of a perfect spiral.

It was on. I was scrambling away from deadly defensive ends and ruthless linebackers and rifling the football into the forts. This went on for 10 minutes and I missed one throw

I’d just invented a new quarterback drill! A new competition! I’d take all comers on Oregon’s socialist ocean beaches, even that flashy kid from KC.