Neil O. Nelson

The retelling of my abbreviated junior high football career – all of one play -- takes considerable time because of the sheer number of participants, a cast that included the players, game officials, cheerleaders, the band in the stands and some hooligans in the crows nest. 

I was recruited to play football not because of my prowess on the Bagley, Minn., junior high football field but for my quick mind and elusive nature on the sandlot field. 

I had a number of touchdown runs – untouched, it was duly noted -- on the touched-up rundown of my exploits given the junior high coach by several of the parents who dutifully watched our sandlot games. 

The coach dutifully sent me in late in the next game, with instructions to run until the whistle was blown, essentially ending the game, for all practical purposes. 

Fearing for my life, I passed the ball instead.  

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