We each had two flags hooked to our belts, and the defender had to pull out one flag. There were no first downs; you had six plays to score a touchdown. You could punt on sixth down, I guess.
But we couldn't punt. We were being clocked, and we had time for one play. Now, I was the biggest (6-foot, maybe 300) guy out there, but I often went out for passes; slow feet but great hands.
I went about 20 yards over the middle, and a friend fired it toward me. At the goal line, I grabbed the ball with both hands, and, simultaneously, a defender came over my wrists with both hands; violently.
He knocked off my watch (I shouldn't have worn it) and even my glasses. I reached up to hand him the ball as I bent over and picked up my watch and glasses. A referee raised his arms, signaling the touchdown and the victory.
"Sorry," the defensive guy said. "I had to try."
I caught a lot of touchdown passes in that league — including four in one game — and I've made prettier catches. But that was the sweetest.
P.S.: I never wore my watch again when I played sports.
More blog entries by Tom Gillispie
• Advice for be and would-be novelists
Anecdotes by Tom Gillispie
Entries from The Dog Blog
Blog entries from The Auto Racing Journal
(a book of great stories about the Intimidator)
(the book of great NASCAR stories)