Thursday, October 02, 2008

"He's gotta be the sickest man in America"

I remember words to that effect when Jackie Smith dropped a touchdown pass from Roger Staubach in Super Bowl XIII. Jackie was one of the greatest tight ends to ever play the game, is in the Hall of Fame, and it's too bad that most people only remember him for that dropped pass.

I bring this up because I officiated a junior high game tonight between Sheridan and Twin Bridges. This was one of the best games I have ever worked since coming to Montana. No 35 point spread. The teams both played well. And there was a seriously large crowd for a junior high game.

The game was tied up at 14 at the half. In the 3rd quarter, Sheridan went up 22 -20. And in the 4th quarter, they scored a touchdown which would have put the game out of reached, but they failed on the PAT, so the score was 28 - 20. And then Twin started marching downfield.

And then, with the ball on about the 30, Twin ran a pass play that went for a touch down and the sidelines erupted. Except for this little yellow flag on the field. I flagged a lineman for being illegally downfield on the pass. The play came back and Twin never got close to scoring again.

After the game the teams had their 6th graders play for a few series of plays. At which time the coach came up to me and said, "Explain to this young guy what he did wrong." So I did.

And the poor kids was in tears because he knew that it was his foul that negated the score. I just wanted to give him a big hug and say, "Hey ... it'll be okay, really." But I didn't. I did, however, explain what he did wrong and hopefully he'll never be downfield again when he's not supposed to be.

And while I was explaining it, I was thinking about Jackie Smith and how he overcame that one dropped ball to have a very successful life.


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