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Half the Size, Twice the Man
Rick Reilly
October 03, 2005
You think you've seen refs as blind as newborn moles? You think you've seen officials make bizarre calls? You've seen zebras who are as boneheaded as a box of hammers?
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October 03, 2005

Half The Size, Twice The Man

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You think you've seen refs as blind as newborn moles? You think you've seen officials make bizarre calls? You've seen zebras who are as boneheaded as a box of hammers?

Well, you ain't seen blind, bizarre and boneheaded until you've seen this.

It's halftime of a game in Dayton on Sept. 16--Colonel White High against Mount Healthy. After Colonel White leaves the locker room, the refs approach the coaches on the sideline. Crew chief Dennis Daly announces, "Number 99 cannot play in this game anymore. He's not wearing shoes, knee pads or thigh pads."

Head coach Earl White just stares at him.

"But he doesn't have any legs!" White says.

"Sorry," Daly says. "It's the rule."

Number 99 is senior Bobby Martin, backup noseguard, a starter on punt coverage and a kid, yes, born without legs.

Doesn't slow him down much. He runs on his hands about as quickly as his teammates do on their feet. Strong as a John Deere in the chest and arms, he benches 215 and will wrestle for the varsity this winter. Wants to go out for track in the spring in the shot put. And now they were telling him he couldn't play without shoes?

"I didn't get it," says Bobby, 17. "The ref could look at me and see I don't have feet or knees. How can I wear shoes if I don't have feet?"

"A rule is a rule," Daly said. Bobby was disconsolate as he sat on the sidelines and Colonel White lost 41-12.

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