Tell me what you think.
He glanced at me again. “You should back up, stay out of the way.”
“Yes, sir.” I saluted, watched for a minute or two then asked, “Dad, why do you practice in Spring, anyway?”
“What?” He turned, an expression of irritation across his face. “Because there’s only a few months left until the season,” he snapped. “Now hush up, girl. I can’t sit here and entertain you. I’ve got a job to do.”
I went back and leaned against the wall, watching the team scrimmage. I never really understood the appeal of the game. The Center—would hike the ball and the Quarterback, who always wore a red shirt so he wouldn’t get tackled, would catch it. Then the Quarterback would throw it, hand it off, pitch it, or run it himself. All the while, his opponents would lunge at him, trying to get through his offensive line. The other defenders ran down field, chasing after the receivers. I thought it seemed like a simple game. As I watched though, I realized how many plays needed to be memorized, and how you always had to be watching and be on your toes, how you needed to be inside the head of your opponents, figuring out and beating them to their next move. There was more to it than meets the eye.
“Hey, Dad, is there something I can do to help?”
He gave me a quick glance. “Uh, not really, just keep a safe distance.” And so I did and kept watching, keeping a special eye on the quarterback, who was mesmerizing. He seemed to have the most difficult job on the field. He had to be fast and strong, and have good reflexes. He had to be able to see everything, in front of him, coming up next to him. He had to have eyes in the back of his head. He had to be quick and accurate, graceful, yet tough. He was the leader, the captain, the hero. I was in awe of the responsibility he held. If he failed, the team was sure to fail. And the quarterback was also the player my dad paid the most attention to. It didn’t suck that he was totally hot, either.
During one play, the quarterback—Brady Briggs— who I immediately crushed over—threw a beautiful pass down the field. The receiver went up for the ball, but he tipped it off his fingers, popping it up in the air and out of bounds. It landed at my feet. I bent down and picked it up, flipped it end over end a few times. As I turned that ball over and over in my hands, I got an idea. One that would help me and my dad get along, to become like a real father and daughter.
My dad came and snatched the ball away from me and tossed it back out to the quarterback. I looked up at him and smiled, knowing in my heart that this would bring us together. My dad looked at me funny and said, “You look like you’re up to something.”
“Chu—no.” He still looked at me suspiciously.
I nodded and went back to watching the practice, plotting in my head all the while.