You must login to vote
It was the first play of every game. Our whole offense was built around it. Sweep right, sweep left, and every combination thereof: Reverse,
Rivers called the formation: “I formation.” Then the play: “Sweep Right on two”. We broke huddle with a pavlovian clap.
I dropped back behind Johnson in my two point stance.
“Down!” Rivers barked out. Johnson and I both drop to our three point stances, fingertips resting in grass.
“Hut!” Rivers barks to the left.
“Hut!” Ski snapped the ball between his legs, slamming it into Rivers hands. Rivers dropped back and faked to Johnson who bore into the lineman charging through Brown’s vacated gap, and pitches it to me. It was a perfect pitch. Just for a moment I watch its flight, end-over-end, it was mesmerizing, just for a moment I wish I could stand and watch its end-over-end flight forever. I don’t know where he learned to pitch the ball like that, but it’s a thing of beauty. It hits me right in my hands. My hands conform to the pigskin and just for a moment it tries to squirt through. I squeeze it, throttling it into submission, and tuck it away in that pavlovian manner that coach taught us everything. Then I cradled it in my outside right arm like a loaf of bread like the pros. As I do, I know that coach wants to kill me: “My way or the highway!” he always says. I do it his way in practice, but out here, … forget him! It’s my show, baby. I’ve got the ball, all eyes are on me.
Jonesy was split out wide, he cracked down on the linebacker leaving me one-on-one with the cornerback. He wassa little fella’, built for speed. We squared of, it wass just him and me. His steel blue eyes were stretched wide as his gaze meet mine. Out of the corner of my eye I could see Brown barreling down hard and I knew what’s going to happen. Brown ran into him like a freight train. There’s a song by the Ohio Players: “Heaven Must Be Like This”, and I see daylight
Then, reality set in, I wasn’t the fastest guy in the world, wasn’t the fastest guy on the field. Hell, wasn’t even the fastest guy on the team! I knew that any second the faster guys would run me down, but then there was nothing between me and the goal line except desire. There was nothing between me and the end zone except eighty yards of painted grass. I threw my head back and ran for all I was worth, I mean I was low running! I stretched out my stride to gobble up as much turf as possible! I huffed and puffed till my lungs felt like they’re about to burst!
“Leave it all on the field” Coach always said. “Give it all you’ve got!” All of that cliché stuff never really made any sense till I saw daylight, till I ran Sweep Right.