Football With Ingrid
The very next time Rocky Hill got the ball, they tried that sweep again. The lineman bowled Ty over. The running back stepped on him on his way by. Ty got up, not so quickly.
Dad shook his head. That pissed Ingrid off. “The linebacker’s not even getting there, Dad,” she said.
Mom glanced back in surprise. “So it’s not Ty’s fault? How do you know that, Ingrid?”
Ingrid shrugged. But this wasn’t rocket science or brain surgery, the two jobs people always used for defining braininess, leaving out for some reason detective or criminal mastermind. This was just football, and she’d been watching lots of it—all Ty’s games this season and, just lately, Joey’s Pop Warner games as well.
“Forget about the linebacker,” Dad said. “Ty’s got to fight off that block.”
But what about the end? Ingrid thought. Where was the Red Raider end, that enormous kid from the Flats, son of the crabby guy at the Sunoco, number 88? Shouldn’t he be out there, trying to slow down 61? Wasn’t he supposed to push 61 wide, giving the linebacker a lane?
The coaches were talking on the sideline.
“They’re going to move Ty to the weak side,” Dad said.
Next series, they moved Ty to the other side.
“As if they won’t be able to find him,” said Dad.
Mom turned, gave him a look. Dad, gaze fixed on the field, didn’t catch it, but Ingrid did. It wasn’t an angry or irritated look—she’d seen looks like that going back and forth between her parents, what kid hadn’t?—but more puzzled, as though she didn’t quite know him.
Toward the end of the second quarter—Rocky Hill 14, Red Raiders 7—they found Ty again. A sweep to the weak side, 61 still leading it, untouched. This time Ty was a little more hesitant coming up—Ingrid wanted not to see that but couldn’t help herself. He plugged the hole, in a crouch, hands up, tried to slide off 61, spin around in time to tackle the running back. Ty was so quick it almost worked. But 61 was pretty quick too, especially for someone his size. He lifted Ty right off the ground. Ty landed flat on his back just as the running back ran over him one more time.
Ty lay there for a moment, then rolled and pushed himself up. He took a few wobbly steps toward the wrong sideline, turned, walked to the Red Raider bench, actually recovering enough to jog the last few steps. The coach met him on the sideline, put a hand on Ty’s chest. He yelled something, his nose practically touching Ty’s face mask. For a moment, Ingrid thought he was yelling encouragement, like nice try or not your fault, or not entirely one hundred percent your fault. Then she saw spit droplets flying from the coach’s mouth, silver under the lights, and realized he was beside himself with fury. He stayed there in Ty’s face, some of his words—like “piss poor”—carrying all the way up to the top row. Ingrid felt herself turning red, as though she were on the receiving end. She saw that Mom had reddened too. A lumpy muscle jumped in the side of Dad’s face. Ty went to the end of the bench, sat there, head down. No one talked to him.
“Can you punt for a field goal?” Mia asked.
From Behind the Curtain.
Bernie’s NFL weekend picks: Ravens, Falcons, Seahawks, Patriots. So far: 0 for 2. What’s up with him going with so many birds?
Tags: Echo Falls Series
This entry was posted on Sunday, January 16th, 2011 at 7:53 am and is filed under Chet The Dog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.