A Comedy of AR's

by: Sammderr | Story In Progress | Last updated Jul 6, 2024

Chapter 68
CHAPTER 168 .......... Empathy Day- Part Nine - Determination

Chapter Description: 2 new pictures added 2/9/24 Images for this story can be found at the following web...... https://sites.google.com/view/comedy-ars-characters/home


When I entered the locker room, everyone was just staring at the floor … except X.  Our captain asked Coach Parker and his three assistants to gather in the coach’s office … but he never closed the door.


He told the four adults something that no other twelve-year-old in the entire country would have the balls to say.


“I’m taking over the team in the second half.”


Coach Parker was in no mood to argue.  “Fine with me … I can’t be there.”


The three assistant coaches just shrugged their shoulders.  It was a done deal.


X came out and pointed to the dry erase board.  “Everybody up front now,” he directed.  “Showkat, in the second half, you and I are going to run every trick play in the history of football.”


“I want all you guys to pay close attention to the board so you know which way to run.  We’re getting back in this game.  In each series when we have the ball, the first two plays are going to be throw-away plays to get the defense leaning in one direction.”


“Then, on every third down, we improvise with something different.  After I call the play on first down, we’re running a no-huddle offense.  Get back to the line quickly, and then Goro snaps the ball on ‘hut’.”


“Grey Wolf asked, “But what if the refs keep calling phantom penalties on us?”


“When we first take the field, I’m going to try to mollify the refs.”


“What’s ‘mollify’?” asked Randy Pantz.


It was obvious that Captain X was on a short fuse.  He told Randy, “Google it, idiot.”


“I want everyone to do ‘this’,” X continued.  “Put your fists on your chest, like you’re about to do a Tarzan yell, only don’t thump them.  Then stick your elbows out wide.  You’ll have to keep that position when you’re blocking … the whole second half.  That’s the only way we can stop the refs from calling ‘holding’ on us.”


“It’ll hurt our blocking ability,” said Big-O.


“I know,” said X.  “But we have no choice, so do your best.  I’m going to alert the refs and the other coach that that’s what we’re doing … Derrek, you’ll accompany me.  So when they see that we’re being all modest and apologetic, rather than complaining, I’m hoping that the refs will then decide call a fair game and stop jobbing us.  So no celebrating if we score.  No talking to the other team.  Just line up quickly for the next play.  We’re going to be as quiet as church mice.”


When we departed our locker room, surprisingly, our spirits were way up, despite being way down in the score, 26 – 0.   Captain X had filled us with his determination.  The plays he had drawn up on the dry erase board were pure genius … if they worked.


As asked earlier, I accompanied X to midfield for a meeting with the refs.  Assistant coach Matthew came too, but just for ‘show’.


“Mr. Referee,” X said, “Is is okay if I ask a question about football rules?”




“Okay, let me see if the other coach wants to hear my question.”


When X approached Closter Cager, the Al Capone players all jeered him.  “Hey beat it!  We don’t allow any pussies on our side of the field!”  (The captain was of course, still wearing his girl’s pleated skirt.)


X ignored our opponent’s cat calls and asked, “Mr. Cager?”




“I’m going to ask the refs a question about football rules.  So maybe you have an opinion on it?  Can you join us for just a second?”




When X began his inquiry, I had never before heard him so apologetic in tone.


“Our team did a lot of holding in the first half and I was wondering if it would help if we altered our technique.  I told all our players to keep their fists on their chests when they block … like this.”


I was there to demonstrate what he meant by putting my fists on my chest and sticking my elbows out wide.


X continued, “Now if our players hold that position through their blocks would that alleviate the holding calls?”


It never ceased to amaze me how grown up X sounded in his vocabulary.  How many seventh graders knew what ‘alleviate’ means?


The head referee answered, “Well, yes, as long as they don’t reach out and grab someone after the play starts.”  Then he looked at the opposing coach.  “Coach Cager?”


“Makes sense to me.  Is that it?”


X turned away and replied, “Yes, sir … thank you.”


As we walked back to our sideline, I asked X, “Do you think you mollified them?”


He muttered, “We’ll find out soon enough.”




I was glad we got the ball first … and started from our own 30 yard line.  (There were no kick or punt returns in the seventh grade.)  On the dry erase board, X had drawn up the first series like this:


“On our first two plays, it’s ‘quarterback-right’.  I run the ball wide right and everyone blocks in that direction.  Don’t worry about gaining a lot of yards.  On third down we run the ‘hide the midget’ play.”


Batty protested, “That’s politically insensitive.  It’s should be the ‘hide the little person’ play.”


X asked, “Do you want to run this team, Batty?”


“No … fine … go hide your midget.”


X continued, “Remember, it’s a no-huddle offense.  Everyone line up quickly.  Derrek and Putz, you’re in tight with the rest of us.  Showkat scrunches down real low and hides behind Big-O at right guard.  Nobody sees him.  When Goro snaps the ball, I give it to Showkat while I fake a QB run to the right again.  Showkat waits a full second before taking off wide left.  Derrek, you fake right and then lead the ball carrier down the left sideline for a TD.”


The play worked to perfection. (AND there were no flags this time!)  I didn’t even have anyone to block going down the left sideline.  We scored the two-point conversion too.  When Big-O and Goro act as ‘road-graders, they pave the way for Showkat to run the ball the necessary three yards.  He can even leap over the goal line when needed.  The score was 26 – 8.


Less than a minute had run off the second half clock.


As Captain X ordered, we did not cheer or celebrate the TD.  We just handed the ball back to the ref and got ready to play defense.  Now we were very determined.


Maybe we had gotten the opposition rattled.  After they gained about 20 yards, the Capone running back fumbled the ball and our linebacker John Jump Junior fell on it for a turnover.


This is how the captain diagramed the second series:


“Tinkerbelle (Randy Pantz) has a big role on this play.  Everyone is close in tight again.  We run two plain ‘vanilla’ student body-rights with Showkat for a couple yards each.  Batty, since you’re the fullback, after Showkat gets tackled the second time, you sneakily step off the field and stay off.  That’s really important.


“But then we’ll only have ten players,” said Batty.


“Exactly,” answered X.  “Then comes the trick.  Putz holds his own hand and yells out, ‘Coach, I hurt my wrist!  I need a sub!  As Putz is running to the sideline, Coach Matthew sends in Randy who hasn’t got his helmet on yet.  So as our opponents are distracted laughing at Randy’s face, Puts stops, but stays inbounds by the sidelines.  How many players do we have now?”


“Eleven,” answered Batty.


“Randy gets his helmet on, Gorro snaps me the ball, and I hit Putz who takes off down the sideline with no one guarding him.”


Once again, in real life, it was an easy touchdown.


Coach Cager ran onto the field screaming ‘Twelve men on the field, ref!  Twelve men on the field.  The mother of one of his players also ran onto the field with her cell phone, yelling ‘I have the screen shot right here!’


They and the two refs squinted at the tiny screen and counted bodies several times.  Coach Cager shook his head.  “How the hell did they only have eleven players?”


And another two-point conversion was added … no celebration … we didn’t utter a peep.  The score was 26 – 16.


We could tell that the Al Capone players were starting to lose a little of their cockiness as they were now getting outplayed by a bunch of ‘girls’.


A Capone offense that previously marched down the field at will in the first half was becoming sluggish without the aid of endless defensive penalties against our side for phantom infractions such as  ‘facemask pulling’, ‘offsides’, and pass interference.


We were soon back on offense again and this is how X had drawn up the next series in the locker room:


“We’re going to run the ‘underhand Statue of Liberty play … which some people call the ‘Boise State’ play because they ran it so well.  When we start, Derrek and Grey Wolf are in tight on the left side.  Our only outside receiver is Putz on the right.  Showkat stands behind me, to my right and acts lazy, does nothing.”


“Lazy suits me,” said Showkat.


“I’ll stand a couple yards back in the shotgun.  On the first two downs, Goro snaps me the ball and I fire it to Putz on the right.  The rest of you move right and try to block for Putz.  Just get a few yards … and then come back and line up fast.”


“No trickery?” asked Putz.


“Not till third down.  Again, it’s a no-huddle play.  When Goro snaps me the ball, my left hand will hide it behind my left buttock.  Showkat, you remain lazy for one more full second while I fake another throw the Putz … and then put your ass in high gear.  Come behind me and grab the ball and head up the left sideline.”


Showkat asked, “Am I naked, or will I have blockers?”


X told him, “You won’t be naked.  You’ll be wearing a dress.”


“Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh,” the team laughed.


“The whole team will still block to the right … Except for Derrek and Greywolf.  You two will fake a block right and then head left to protect Showkat’s run up the sideline.”


Closter Cager was beside himself.  Instead of watching the Jerry Sandusky ‘girls’ make a mockery of the game, he was watching them make a mockery of his team.  The Statue of Liberty play, like the first two trick plays worked to perfection … and Showkat took the ball 70 yards down the field.  I was happy to pave his way for another touchdown.


After another two-point conversion, the game had turned into a nail-biter with a score of 26 – 24.  I started to wonder if the game could possibly come down to a field goal try for three points.  Putz did all our kicking but we hadn’t tried any field goals this year because we didn’t need them.


But we should not have underestimated our opponent.  There was a reason that Al Capone Middle School was as yet undefeated.  They had size and talent … and they made good use of those assets on their next offensive series.  There was nothing fancy.  They simply outplayed our defense with some big plays.


The biggest was their receiver beating me down the field to the end zone.  There, he juked right and went left into the corner, catching a TD pass and making me hate myself.  We fell behind again 34 – 24. 


Captain X patted me on my helmet for encouragement and said, “Our bag of tricks ain’t empty.”





End Chapter 68

A Comedy of AR's

by: Sammderr | Story In Progress | Last updated Jul 6, 2024


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