I stayed late at school today, and had a chance for a little fun, on the eve of our school’s first football game of the year, tomorrow night.
I had dropped something off in the office, and was walking down a nearly deserted hallway – maybe seven, eight, kids milling around, here and there – a few football players, a cheerleader, others that I did not recognize. As I approached, a kid I do not know as a student, but just from being around, walks to the middle of the hallway, facing me, and gets into a defensive-back stance: hunched over, hands out, flexing, as if to ‘chuck’ a receiver coming off the line. “Come on, Mr. Lucker. Show me.”
I reciprocate, mirroring the kid’s pose – except I have my clipboard in my left hand.
“No, Mr. Lucker! I’M the defensive back, YOU are the receiver – you got to line-up like a receiver. See? Offset from me, like this.” The kid shifts his feet and body to his right, gestures with his left hand. “See? Now my outside shoulder is lined up with your inside shoulder!”
I drop into my best Randy Moss impression; leaning slightly forward at the waist, up on the ball of my right foot which is pushed back a bit, left foot ready to push off. I am glancing slightly to the left, making eye-contact with my imaginary quarterback. My arms dangle at my sides, my fingers are twitching waiting for the make-believe snap of the ball.
“Ohhh” I say, casually, “you mean like this.”
“That’s it, Mr. Lucker! You know how it is! You done this before! Now — ”
He never finishes.
I bolt down the hallway: my arms pumping, my feet flying; I am yelling. “I beat him off the ball! I beat him off the ball!” Fifty, sixty, feet down the hall, I stop and look over my shoulder. The kid is still mostly hunched over at the waist, looking back over his shoulder at me, incredulous.
“Man, Mr. Lucker…!”
His voice trails off, he is smiling, shaking his head. The other kids are laughing, as I thrust both arms skyward, still holding my clipboard. “I beat him off the ball! I beat him off the ball!” Arms still raised in triumph, I turn the corner to head down the next hallway, the kids behind me all still laughing.
A little bit of guile, I can always make ‘em smile.