“Timeout!” shouted Ian Thomas.
“We have a time out by the offense,” hollered the Ager referee, “and that’s their final timeout. We have 16 seconds remaining in the game and it’s a first down at mid-field!”
Although the referee was actually an Ager elementary school gym teacher, he took his job as referee quite seriously. Before the earthquake he had worked as an official for the National Football League in the United States – that is before the flooding left the Denver Broncos as the only team in existence. The gym teacher was a novelty around the school, as the young players enjoyed hearing his stories about the glory days of the NFL. One thing was certain, the kids in Colorado loved to play American rules football.
All children at schools around the world were encouraged to participate in either American Rules Football, Australian Rules Football, rugby, boxing, martial arts, or some other full contact sport. It was believed that contact sports toughened the children and prepared their young bodies for more strenuous military training. Injuries were a minor concern, considering the potential benefits gained as the children became physically and mentally stronger. The military believed that a strong warrior was always more beneficial to the greater good of humanity.
“Alright, let’s huddle up,” directed Ian, clapping his hands together, rallying his team. His exhausted teammates huddled around him with muddy sweat dripping from nearly every inch of their young bodies.
“Okay, I know you’re tired, but so are they. Just look at those guys. Tony has his hands on his head trying to breathe, and poor Fitch… what tha’, Wow! Fitch is actually lying down now,” Ian chuckled, nodding toward the defense, using the legs of his long athletic shorts to wipe the sweat from his hands.
Ian’s teammates turned to sneak a quick glimpse of their fatigued competition, then sniggered quietly amongst themselves.
“There is no way we’re gonna let these guys beat us,” Ian said, urging. “Dak, after this play you’ve got to set the huddle as fast as you can. I know you’re pooped, but hold your hands high so we can get the next play called quickly, Okay?”
Dak nodded a couple times, still breathing heavy from the last play.
“We’ve got enough time for two, maybe three more plays,” continued Ian. “Let’s give it all we’ve got and remember what’s at stake. I mean, who wants to watch poor Fitch over there do push-ups in the dirt for the rest of the year? I know I do!”
Ian’s entire team burst into a fit of laughter. They looked over their shoulders, observing the dog-tired young man known as Fitch, still lying depleted upon the ground.
Ian Thomas looked his teammates in the eyes, confident and determined. “Alright, here’s what we’re gonna do.” ….