I’m watching a pro-football game and there is a fumble and a big pileup of players fighting to recover the ball. It reminds me of a game way back to my eighth grade football team.
What goes on in one of those fumble recovery scrambles? In an eighth grade junior high game blankety blank years ago, I was playing defensive back. The runner on the other team fumbled and along with about nine other players he leaped upon the loose pigskin. I watched from just outside the pile-on as the ref slowly eliminated players from the pile in an attempt to determine who had rightfully recovered the ball.
As players were stripped from the pile, I got on my knees, wriggled into the pile reached in and managed to get both hands on the ball which was being securely held by the original runner. As players were pulled from the pile I was able to slowly inch my hands further onto the ball and ultimately pull it away.
When all the players in the pile were finally pulled away, a young Cranky was firmly in control of the ball and credited despite the protestations of the other team with recovering the fumble.
When my son, Matt, was playing Pop Warner football at age ten, I told him the story of my thievery.
On game three of his season the opposing team fumbled the ball and a huge pileup ensued. I watched as Matt snuck his way up to the pile, stealthily got to his knees and slowly inched his way in while the ref was pulling players away. After several minutes he managed to squirm his way to the middle, grab the ball and wrench it away from the rightful holder. When all players were pulled off, Matt stood up with the ball and was credited with the recovery.
I was so proud to think “That’s my boy!”