Tag Archives: playing tag football

A Rocky Start: Chapter Three Continued


After lunch, they all sat around for a while, letting their food digest, and planned the football game. Kyle had already marked off the goal lines at each end of the field. Before they began, he reminded everyone of the rules,

“This is tag football, no tackling allowed. Tagging means tapping someone on the back with both hands. The quarterback stands at one goal line and passes the ball to someone on his team. The other team tries to block the pass or intercept it. If the ball is caught, the player can say ‘down.’ Then no one can tag him. The person catching the ball can run with it. If he is tagged, the ball is down at the spot where he was tagged. If a team makes a touchdown or if there are four downs with no touchdown, the other team takes over at the other end of the field.”

“Do you really think it’s fair to make your mother and Amber play against the two of us?” John asked Kyle.

“What do you mean, make us?” Mary scolded. “What makes you think we won’t beat you?”

“Is this girls against guys?” Mrs. Jenkins asked. “I can throw a pretty mean football.”

“What about running?” Amber asked, concerned.

“You said the quarterback stands at the goal line,” Mrs. Jenkins reminded her. “Let me be the quarterback. You’ll see.”

The girls took the ball first, with Mrs. Jenkins on the goal line. Amber ran out for a pass, and Mrs. Jenkins threw a bomb right to her. Amber caught it and said, “Down.” There was a short delay in the game as Mrs. Jenkins walked to a new position downfield. Amber threw the ball to her mother, who managed to run a few feet before Kyle tagged her. From there, she threw a short pass to Amber, which didn’t advance the ball very far. Everyone seemed to have forgotten about Mrs. Jenkins who was now in the end zone. Amber faked a pass to her mother, but instead threw it to Mrs. Jenkins who made a beautiful catch for a touchdown.

Both John and Kyle were wearing shocked looks on their faces as they realized what had happened. Just then, Kyle noticed Logan Green walking by.

“Hey, Logan, want to play tag football? We need some help. The women are beating us.”

Logan looked at the three victors cheering and high-fiving each other in the end zone. “Sure,” he said. “Where do you want me to play?”

Logan was a student in Amber’s class, but she hadn’t really talked to him very much. He was usually quiet in class and mostly talked to his friends Chris and Spike during lunch or recess. Amber knew that Logan was very organized and always prepared for class. The teacher called on him a lot, and he usually had the right answer.

Now that the guys had the ball, they showed no mercy. Kyle threw the ball to John, who threw it sideways to Logan, who ran it in for a touchdown. The girls just stood there, unable to do anything about it. Then Mary was the quarterback. She told Amber to run out for a pass. Amber was running backward, not really seeing where she was going. Her mother saw it first and tried to yell, but it was too late. When Amber hit the mud, she couldn’t stay on her feet. Slipping and sliding, she let out a yell. That brought Domino to his feet, and within seconds, he was loose from where Kyle had him tied up. As Amber landed seat-first in the mud, Domino pounced on her with his muddy paws.

At first the others stared in shock, but when they were sure Amber was okay, they started laughing. Amber got up and headed for the restroom without even looking their way. That was the end of the football game. At least it ended in a tie.

“You’re a pretty good football player, Mrs. Jenkins,” John was saying as Amber returned from the restroom.

“Call me Betty,” she said. “I raised three boys, so I played a lot of football in my day.”

“Where are your boys now?” Mary asked.

“Calvin lives in Oakland, California. He’s a stockbroker and has two boys of his own. Sam is in the air force, stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base near Tucson. Robert is a chef in a fancy restaurant in San Francisco. He has three children, two girls and a boy.”

“You must really miss them,” Mary commented.

“They visit when they can. At least they aren’t that far away. My husband, Paul, and I moved here when he retired. After Paul passed away, I thought of moving closer to one of my sons, but I like living in Bluesky.”

John offered Betty a ride home, but she said it was just a short walk to her house. Amber, now passably clean, asked if she could walk with Betty.

“Come straight home after that,” Mary told her. “I don’t want you out after dark.”

“I will,” Amber assured her.

“I can’t believe you made that catch!” Amber exclaimed as the two walked along.

“I wasn’t sure I could stay on my feet,” Betty said. “It was sort of a one-handed catch.”

“Well, at least we scored,” Amber said enthusiastically. “If I hadn’t fallen in the mud, we might have won.”

“I’m pretty sure the guys weren’t going to let that happen. Anyway, we made a decent showing.”

“That was so embarrassing in front of Logan.”

“I think he likes you,” Betty said.

“Logan? Why would you say that?” Amber asked.

“He was looking at you a lot. But the main reason is that when you fell in the mud, he was the only one who didn’t laugh.”

“He was probably too disgusted to laugh. He probably never had something like that happen to him in his life!”

“I think you might be surprised,” Betty went on. “Everybody has things like that happen from time to time.”

“Not as often as I do,” Amber sighed. “You must have been good at sports when you were younger.”

“I played softball in high school,” Betty told her. “Now my sport is shuffleboard.”

“Really?” Amber looked surprised. “I’ve never heard of shuffleboard. Where do you play it?”

“Come around to the Bluesky Senior Center at ten o’clock next Saturday,” Betty invited. “You can cheer me on in the shuffleboard tournament.”

“I’ll ask my mom,” Amber assured her. “If she says it’s okay, I’ll be there.”

The Handy Helpers book series is available at Amazon

A Rocky Start: Chapter Three


Sunday morning proved to be another beautiful day in Bluesky. Amber checked on the family in the sycamore tree. This time the mother was sitting on the nest, but the father was on a branch close by. She knew it wouldn’t be too long before there would be baby birds in the nest.

Amber dressed for church and went down to breakfast. Kyle was the last one down, so he had to say grace. The Snyders live close enough to the Community Christian Church to walk there. John and Mary walked hand in hand as Kyle and Amber followed behind.

“Want to play football at the park today?” Kyle asked.

“Maybe,” Amber said. “Who will be on the teams?”

“How about guys against girls?” Kyle suggested. “That is, if you’re up to it.”

“I think Mom and I can take you guys,” Amber said with confidence, though she had serious doubts.

“You’re on,” Kyle said with satisfaction

As soon as they found a table at the park, John started the charcoal for the burgers. Mary spread a cloth over the table and unpacked the picnic basket. Kyle took Domino to the dog park so he could run around with other dogs. Amber went along to watch.

Domino was the first dog the family had owned. John brought home a dog book so they could decide what breed to get. Mary was thinking about a small dog, such as a Yorkshire terrier. That was until she read about how much work it was to take care of them and that they could be yappy and not always good with children. When Amber read about the Labrador retriever, she knew that was the kind of dog she wanted. They were great dogs for kids. That was part of the reason. But most of all, she wanted a Lab because the book said they were hyperactive. She and their new puppy would have something in common.

Naming their new pup was another issue. Everyone suggested the usual names like Buddy and Blacky. None of the suggestions seemed quite right. One night when they were watching TV, their new pup came into the living room with an obvious problem. His nose was stuck in a pizza box. He was whining and hitting at the box with his front paw, but he couldn’t get it off. They all laughed when they saw him.

“Way to go, Domino,” Amber said. The others looked at her.

“Here, Domino,” Kyle called to the dog. “Let me get that off your nose.”

That was it. His name was Domino. There was no question about it.

It was obvious from the start that Domino was an attention-deficit/hyperactive dog. One day Amber was watching him chase a lizard in the backyard. Domino got distracted by a noise, and when he looked away, the lizard scampered off. He looked back at the spot where the lizard had been. Even though the lizard was gone, Domino kept trying to find him in the same rocks. He gets distracted just like me, Amber thought.

Kyle took charge of housebreaking Domino. He had it all planned, but Domino didn’t always follow the plan. He made his share of mistakes. Kyle was a pretty patient teacher, though. Amber thought maybe he learned that from being her big brother.

John called out to his family to let them know that the burgers were done. As they ate, Kyle talked about his trip to Fox Creek. The melting snow from the mountains above the creek had caused the banks to overflow, filling in their best fishing spots. The water was cold and rushing too fast for Kyle and his friends to get in it. They found a side pool, and Domino jumped in before Kyle could stop him. As the dog book said, Domino was a great swimmer right away. Kyle had a hard time getting Domino out of the pool. At first he tried calling to his dog, but in the end, he had to go in after Domino. Carrying a wet fifty-pound dog out of a cold creek isn’t any fun.

Amber noticed a woman sitting on a bench near the pond. She was throwing bread to some ducks. Amber thought she looked familiar, and then she realized it was Mrs. Jenkins. Amber asked her mom if it would be okay to invite Mrs. Jenkins to join them for lunch.

“I just finished sharing my lunch with the ducks.” Mrs. Jenkins laughed. “But I wouldn’t mind having a piece of that luscious watermelon you’ve got there.”

As Mary put a slice of watermelon on a plate, she commented about being lucky to get a good watermelon.

“How do you choose your watermelon?” Mrs. Jenkins asked. “Are you a thumper?”

“Mostly, I just choose one and hope for the best,” Mary replied. “Do you have a secret for choosing a good watermelon?”

“I used to grow watermelons every summer in Kansas. First, I look for a watermelon that is dark green and not shiny. Then I look for the ripe spot. That’s a sort of yellow spot where the watermelon was touching the ground.”

“You told a secret,” Amber said with surprise. “I thought you never tell secrets.”

“Only when it comes to my chocolate chip cookies.” Mrs. Jenkins smiled her sly smile again.

The Handy Helpers book series is available at Amazon