On the other end of the porch sat the women, the young ones nursing babies, talking women talk, mostly about how dirty the boys got their clothes playing that baseball.
Usually Grandpa Moses sat in his rocking chair, but today he was inside the house near the fire, nursing a bad cold. In the middle of the big front yard lay OP Sport, Grandpa Moses' best hound dog, asleep.
On the baseball field there were 27 bodies huddled together. The 27th was Shep, Ol' Sport's son, who refused to leave even when he was kicked. Benny and I selected a team apiece. We had 13 players on a side, because there were 26 who wanted to play and we decided that our revolution needed all the support it could get. We made up the rules as we went along.
The only ball we owned was a baseball, which was really a tennis ball. When kicking off and punting we had to throw the ball. For extra points we had to run or pass. Being the opposing quarterbacks, Benny and I decided against using numbers when calling signals, because most of the fellows weren't too familiar with figures. Instead, we used the names of automobiles. This proved much easier, because there was not a single one among us who couldn't name the make and model of any car on sight. Our vehicular signal system had its drawbacks, though. Some fellows had a tendency to jump offside when the name of their favorite car was rattled off by the quarterback, instead of waiting for the ball to leave the center's hand. But eventually the system began to work.
Benny received for his team and ran the ball up the pasture for a touchdown without a hand being laid on him. Shep chased him across the goal barking like crazy. Shep took to football. Before the kickoff, Benny had instructed his biggest player, Big Boy, who was 16 and weighed 175, to block me out of the play. Big Boy clipped me beautifully. We didn't have a rule against clipping.
Then my side made two quick scores. The first came when I carried the ball around their left side—away from Big Boy—for some 40 yards. They moved Big Boy to their left side, and I ran. The next time I crossed around the right side—away from Big Boy—for about 25 yards.
Then Benny got wise. He pulled Big Boy back and told him to watch me and move the same way I did on every play. For the rest of the game I was woozy from many encounters with Big Boy. Sometimes I fell from just looking at him. After this we lost the lead on two quick touchdown passes from Benny to Bugs, an end.
Then I got wise. At fullback I put my biggest player, Hawg, who was about the same dimensions as Big Boy and the most promising young logger at the local sawmill. I had him follow Big Boy on every one of their offensive plays. The rest of the team I split, one half to blitz Benny and the other half to blitz Bugs downfield. It worked.
The guys on both teams were now blocking, tackling, holding, clipping, biting and gouging. With rules like ours, football was even more exhilarating than we had hoped.
Play now centered around Big Boy and Hawg. It was Big Boy and Hawg, Hawg and Big Boy, on every play—an earlier day Jim Brown-Sam Huff match. The fact that there was bad blood between their daddies may have livened things up.