My friend Chip wanted to start a Thanksgiving tradition. He bought a throwback bison-leather football and suggested some of our group show up at the park near his park on Thanksgiving afternoon to play touch football. Why not? thought I. I love touch football, my relined hip has had eleven months to figure things out, it would break up the day–I was in. I brought Josh, home for a few days leave, my niece’s husband Randy, and Randy’s 13-year old son Nick. Rounding out the teams were Chip, Bruce, Mike, and Chip’s daughter’s boyfriend. Four v Four Two-Hand Touch on a wet grass field on an unseasonably warm Thanksgiving. Defenses could rush the QB after counting 5-Mississippi, with one no-count blitz per four downs. Offenses earned a first down after two complete passes within four downs and could run if the defense blitzed. The average age of my team was about 35 (thank you, Nick!); the average age of the other team was about 50. It is a good bet that no one save Nick had touched a football in, say, ten years. After the first few series of downs we gave Nick to the Retirement Home team, putting the average ages on parity. We scored a couple of touchdowns. The other team scored, and then put on an impressive multi-play drive. So impressive was their number of plays that it put me in mind of that philisophical problem: if one keeps halving the distance to a destination will he ever arrive? They scored eventually, then we mounted our own yard-consuming drive and scored again. At home turkeys needed turning and basting, biscuits needed baking, and guests needed fresh drinks and appetizers. We played one more series which ended when we stopped their offensive drive at midfield. The results were no broken bones, no pulled hamstrings or groins, no twisted knees or sprained ankles, wet and muddy shoes, and lots of laughter. I don’t know the final score. I’m sure my team won. We vowed to play again next Thanksgiving come rain, mud, snow, or cold. If we do a new tradition will have been borne.
Post Script: I downed 800 mgs of Alevel a few hours after the game and spent the evening applying a hot-water bottle to my right hip. At coffee this morning Chip, Mike, and I moved gingerly. Bruce didn’t show up. If no new aches appear this afternoon I’ll declare the whole thing a success–but I’ll keep the Aleve within arm’s-reach.