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Fourth and Long

Updated on September 28, 2016
Dean Traylor profile image

Dean Traylor is a freelance writer and teacher. He is a former journalist who has worked on various community and college publications.

"The game between the two was heating up, just as the game on the field was reaching its climatic finish."
"The game between the two was heating up, just as the game on the field was reaching its climatic finish." | Source

The penultimate moment came: Fourth-and-long and the game was on the line. From her bench near the playground, Clarisse leaned forward to gaze at the quarterback leading his flag-football team onto its final -- and possibly victorious -- drive of the game in the park.

The team broke from the huddle and took their position on the scrimmage line. All the while, Clarisse’s eyes locked onto the tall, well-proportioned man leading his team.

Her gaze didn’t go unnoticed. The quarterback spotted his eager fan and threw a smile at her. Clarisse was not only willing to catch that pass; she threw a spiral of her own by working in a subtle toss of her sandy-blond hair.

The game between the two was heating up...just as the game on the field was reaching its climatic finish.

For Clarisse, much was at stake. Divorced for two years, she was ready to start over with a new man. And, the quarterback on the field was increasingly looking like an ideal man for her.

The quarterback pumped once, then twice, not able to find someone open. He began to scramble. Clarisse’s heart pounded as a defender closed in on him.

He took his position and lowered his hands below the center. And with a curiously confidence, he smiled briefly at his adoring fan. He felt confident and emboldened. And, he knew it was time to be the hero in this game.

“Hut, hut, hike!” He bellowed to his teammates.

Soon afterward, he put the game in motion.

His line held the attack of the opponents defensive rush. The receivers ran their routes to the goal-line, covered every step of the way by the defensive backs.

The quarterback pumped once, then twice, not able to find someone open. He began to scramble. Clarisse’s heart pounded as a defender closed in on him.

He slipped a tackle and ran through an opening in the line. He raced toward the end-zone, pursued every inch of the way. He leaped and slid ever-so-closely to where Clarisse was. Touchdown!

"He took his position, lowered his hands below the center, and smiled briefly at his adoring fan. Then, he put the game in motion."
"He took his position, lowered his hands below the center, and smiled briefly at his adoring fan. Then, he put the game in motion." | Source

She looked at him admirably. The player returned the favor with a sly grin.

All was well until: “Mommy!”

A five-year-old girl, Tracy, emerged from the playground, shoelaces flapping and snapping against the concrete walkway near Clarisse.

Clarisse knew what she had to do. She remedied the situation by --albeit reluctantly -- tying the crying girl’s laces.

“Go off and play; mommy’s busy.” she said immediately after finishing the knots.

Clarisse returned her attention to the quarterback and the game. Her eyes met his. She nearly froze when she saw his wide, disappointed glare. He got up, brushed himself off, and without any acknowledgement of his ardent fan, he turned to join his team’s celebration.

Clarisse felt something at that moment: the moment of defeat, thanks to her child. She watched the man celebrate. She watched him leave. She felt the loss, every painful moment of it.

Most of all, she came to realization: the game she once thought was winnable had just become very challenging.

"He got up, brushed himself off, and without any acknowledgement of his ardent fan, he turned to join his team’s celebration."
"He got up, brushed himself off, and without any acknowledgement of his ardent fan, he turned to join his team’s celebration." | Source

© 2015 Dean Traylor

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