Right Tackle ToddŮÍŗųŗÚŁ ÍŪŤ„ů ŠŚŮÔŽŗÚŪÓ
ďThis is plenty,Ē said Jim earnestly, his voice low. ďThanks, Clem. Itís mighty good of you.Ē He disappeared once more and again the door closed tightly behind him. Clem stared in a puzzled way, then shrugged his shoulders, returned the four gold pieces and two crumpled dollar bills to the old envelope and tossed the latter back into the bag. Then he turned the key, placed the suit-case back on the shelf and dropped the key-ring into the drawer in the chiffonier. When he had rescued his book from the window-seat and pulled the curtains across the casements, Jim had returned to the room. He had paused inside the door, his back against it, and was staring thoughtfully at the floor. Then, before Clem thought of anything to say, he roused himself and came to the table.
ďI guess youíre wondering about Ė about that fellow,Ē he said slowly, ďand me lending him money.Ē
ďWell, curiosity wonít hurt me,Ē answered Clem cheerfully. ďItís no affair of mine, Jim, and you donít owe any explanations.Ē
ďHeís a fellow I used to know pretty well,Ē Jim went on. ďHe Ė we used to live close together and he was always mighty good to me when I was a little codger. Heís been having trouble lately; out of work and the like of that, Clem; and heís sort of lost hold, I guess. I ran across him yesterday afternoon on State street. He was looking for me to get a little money to carry him along. I gave him three dollars and a half. Thatís all I had. Thatís why I had to ask you for that five dollars just now.Ē
ďI see. But that chap doesnít expect you to lend him money right along, I hope. Eight dollars in two days is fairly steep, isnít it?Ē
Jim nodded. ďHe said yesterday he was going to Norwalk. Said he had a job promised him there. But it seems he didnít have enough money left this morning for his ticket. So he wanted me to lend him some more.Ē
ďWell, thatís all right,Ē said Clem. ďLetís hope he gets his job. To speak right out in meeting, Jim, I didnít like his looks much, and his hands didnít seem to me to show many signs of hard and honest labor. Also, if youíll pardon me for seeming disrespect to a friend of yours Ė or, let us say, acquaintance Ė I thought I detected an aroma about him that Ė well, it wasnít exactly the odor of sanctity, Jim.Ē
ďYes, I noticed it, too,Ē replied Jim sadly. ďI guess heís been sort of up against things and Ė and discouraged, Clem. Heís had no job for more than a month, he says. But I made him promise me heíd behave if I let him have that five. And I guess he will. He used to be such a nice fellow, Clem!Ē
ďToo bad,Ē said Clem sympathetically. ďLost his grip, I suppose. Well, maybe heíll land on his feet again. I dare say itís not any too easy to keep straight, Jim, when youíre on your uppers. Donít you think of paying back that five, old son, until you get it back from that fellow, no matter if itís ten years from now. I donít need it.Ē
ďThanks, but Iíd rather pay it as soon as I get my allowance,Ē Jim protested.
ďThatíll be about ten days from now.Ē
ďYouíre a stubborn old Maineiac,Ē said Clem sadly, ďbut have your own way about it. Meanwhile, has it occurred to you that the time is twelve minutes past six and that if we want food weíd better get a move on us? Of course, you, being on the training table, donít need to worry so much, but where I battle for sustenance itís a case of first come, first get it! And,Ē added Clem, waving a towel as he made for the door, ďthere are those at my table who have no conscience at all where another manís butter is concerned!Ē
THE ART OF LINE PLAYING
On Wednesday a stranger appeared at practice. He was a large, broad-shouldered man of perhaps twenty-five or twenty-six years, with a jovial voice and a pleasant smile. He wore a nondescript assortment of football togs among which was a blue sweater bearing a white Y. He did not, however, retain the sweater long, for five minutes after practice had started he was down by the farther goal in charge of a bunch of guards and tackles. With the sweater he seemed to have discarded the jovial voice and the pleasant smile. Presently the rumor spread that the stranger was one Myers, an Alton guard of some years before and, more recently, the Myers who had helped put Yale back on the football map. Also, rumor had it, he was to remain at Alton until the Kenly game and take charge of the linemen.
That afternoon Jim added not a little to his knowledge of playing in the line. Myers spent much time showing his charges how to stand, both on attack and defense. After Hick Powers, invited by the coach to take his position on attack, had set himself, Myers charged into him and sent him sprawling on his back. ďThere you are,Ē said Myers. ďYou were all right for a straight-on attack, but your feet were too much on a line for a side-swipe. You canít always tell how the other fellow is going to come at you. Try it again. Spread wider. All right. Hold it! Not too much weight on your hand, though. Just steady yourself with your finger-tips. Now you fellows study that position. You see that this man is set so that no matter how I may come at him heís got stability. This right foot is far enough behind the left so that I canít throw him off his balance by going straight into him, and far enough to the right so that I canít throw him to his left by charging him sidewise. All of you take that stance. You fourth chap there, bring that rear foot out more. Thatís better. Now look at your feet and see how youíre standing. Got it? Good! One thing more before we drop the attack position. Donít anchor yourself by putting your weight on your hands. What you are doing is taking the position of a sprinter, and the sprinter doesnít put the weight of his upper body on his hands. If he did heíd do one of two things when the pistol barked; heíd either plunge forward on his face or heíd have to shift his weight back to his legs before he left the mark. Youíre using that position because itís the position that will get you into play quickest. But your weight must always be on your feet. Never use your fingers to more than steady yourself. Myself, I like to put only one hand to the ground. I let my left hand point back. It seems to me that it helps me start. But thatís not important. Use both hands if it seems better for you. Only, and Iím repeating this purposely, donít get anchored. And when I say put the weight on the feet, I donít mean, of course, that youíre to distribute the weight evenly. The front foot carries most of the weight. It sets flat on the ground. The rear foot holds the ground only with the ball and the toes. But you know that, even if you donít know that you know it!Ē
ďNow letís take the position on defense. The other side has the ball. Show me now. Not bad, the most of you. Several of you are too high. Remember this, fellows. Up and forward is the direction, not just forward. You must come from below and push upward first. Then forward. Up and forward! Remember that. Ever see a clay pigeon released from a trap? Well, thatís the way you fellows ought to charge. Just as though some one had released a spring and sent you straight and hard into the air. Straddle well, keep your head up, hold your arms wide and your hands open and then snap! Donít go at it like a crane lifting a block of stone, slow and steady. Donít try any tank warfare. Speed, fellows! Get the jump every time! Drive into him from below and push him up and back, and do it before he can throw his weight to meet you. And when you charge know what youíre going to do, where youíre going to apply your power. Be ready with your hands. Theyíll get there before your body. And then donít stride forward. Use the short, quick crawling steps youíve been taught. Then youíll get the power from low down. But if you donít keep your back straight that power, originating in your legs, wonít reach your arms. Thereíll be a break in the line of transmission. Now, then, letís try it. Set wide and get steady. Elbows out, hands ready. Go! Not bad. You fellow with the long legs, you make your steps too long. Duck-walk it. This way. Waddle Ė waddle Ė waddle! See? Try it again. Better. All right for that. One more thing, though. Donít neglect to hog every inch the officials will let you get away with. Your hand, the left if you use it to balance with, the right if you use but one, will be in advance of every portion of your body except your head. Find out how far forward you can set your hand without bringing your head beyond your scrimmage line and always put it there. The difference of even six inches counts. Now weíll see how much you remember. Letís have two lines here. Iíll snap the ball. This sideís attacking. Now remember that position first. All right. Get down to it. Here we go!Ē
Afterwards, during the thirty minutesí scrimmage with the scrubs, Myers dogged the first team every moment. ďKeep your back straight, right guard! Lock it! Watch your feet, right tackle! Thatís not the way I showed you, not by a long sight! You played too high, left guard! You let your man under you! Charge from below! Great jumpiní Judas! Use your hands, center! That man ought never to have got through!Ē And so it went, with Coach Cade making life merry for the backs, Captain Gus doing a little criticizing on his own hook and the quarter imploring the gray empyrean for just one man who could keep his signals straight! Jim played a long session that Wednesday afternoon, and he finished with the suspicion that football practice, as the season neared its climax, was going to be something quite different from anything he had imagined. But he was going to like it. He knew that!
That evening coaches and players met again in Mr. Cadeís quarters and a long session developed. Jim was not among the eight or nine players invited, and he spent most of the evening going over the affairs of the Maine-and-Vermont Society, which, with a present membership of nearly forty, was in flourishing condition. Last of all, he wrote politely imperative reminders to delinquent members on Clemís small typewriter. Jim was not an accomplished typist and he spent a good deal more time than he would have consumed had he written the notes by hand. But there is no denying that the typed results possessed a certain air of authority that Jimís sprawling writing would have failed to attain, and this in spite of many erasures and several misspelled words. Clem came back while Jim was still struggling with the envelopes and offered advice of no value and laughed immoderately at the way Jimís tongue stuck out when he was hunting for what he called the ďpedals.Ē Jim finally ended his task and assembled the half-dozen missives atop his chiffonier for delivery on the morrow, looking not a little triumphant.
ďArenít you going to put stamps on them?Ē asked Clem from the depths of his arm-chair.
ďStamps cost money,Ē replied Jim, shaking his head. ďIím my own postman.Ē
ďThatís a swell society! Doesnít allow the secretary money for postage!Ē
ďYes, it does, but the secretary has good legs,Ē countered Jim. ďItís no trouble to dump these things in the letter boxes in the halls as I go by. You see, Clem, I was brought up economical!Ē
ďThat so?Ē Clem yawned and began to unlace a shoe. ďMaybe they donít have stamps in Maine. I suppose when you write a letter at home, Jim, you put your snowshoes on and hike across country with it, eh? Say, talking of societies, how would you like to join Janus?Ē
ďMe?Ē said Jim. ďThat the one you belong to? Whatís it cost?Ē
ďNot much. Anyway, a fellow doesnít generally ask the cost of joining, old son; he looks grateful and kisses his benefactorís hand. Janus, Jim, is Ė well, itís Janus. íNough said. If you belong to Janus youíre made for life.Ē
ďHuh,Ē said Jim, ďthatís what you hear about all of íem. Guess itís too high for my pocket-book, Clem. Much obliged, though.Ē
ďDonít be a goof! This, old son, is one of lifeís fine moments. Why, dog my cats, youíre only the third senior thatís ever been proposed. Either you make it in your junior year or you donít make it at all.Ē
ďMean that Iíve been proposed? Who did it? You?Ē
ďExactly. And I donít think thereís any doubt about you getting through. Hang it, show a little enthusiasm, you cold-blooded fish! Donít you understand youíre being honored? Say ĎHooray!íĒ
ďYeah, but, honest, Clem, I donít believe I could afford it. Iím sort of hard-up right now, and I guess likely Iíll be that way for some time.Ē
ďWell, but I thought Ė Itís none of my business, Jim, but isnít your father pretty comfortable?Ē
Jim shook his head. ďNo, he isnít, Clem. Not lately. I guess you donít know what a hard time country folks have nowadays, farmers especially. They canít get money for what they raise like they could a few years ago. Up our way most farmers raise potatoes for their main crop, but theyíre a good ways from the market and lots of times it donít pay íem to ship íem. Right on our place Iíve seen more than two hundred bushels raised on a little piece of ground and piled in the cellar, and theyíd be there, most of íem, in the Spring. After youíd paid for bags and carting and freight to Boston and commission to the produce man youíd be out of pocket. Same way with hogs and most everything else now. Thereís money in lumber, but itís the fellows in the cities gets it. When folks havenít got money to spend, they donít spend it, and dadís business ainít very good any more. The only way I could come back here this year was by earning some money last summer. Thatís why I went to that sporting camp. You see, I could have gone to college this Fall if Iíd been willing to. Iíd have had a couple of conditions, though, and I thought it would be better to come here another year. Besides, I Ė I got to liking Alton pretty well, and when you wrote you were willing to let me come in with you I just made up my mind Iíd put in another year here. But I couldnít very well ask dad to pay for all of it. I made enough at the camp to pay my tuition, and dad he allows me ten dollars a month for extras and spending money. Now Iím in debt to you five dollars, Clem, and Iíve got to go sort of careful or I wonít have enough money to get home Christmas time.Ē
ďThatís kind of tough,Ē mused Clem. ďFunny, but I had an idea that your folks were pretty well fixed. Anyhow, donít you worry about getting home, old son. Thereís still money in the strong-box!Ē
ďIíd borrow if I found I had to, I guess,Ē said Jim, ďbut I guess I wonít have to. Giving that money to Webb Ė the fellow who was up here the other day, you know,†Ė sort of put me short, but now heís gone I guess I wonít Ė Ē
ďGosh! That reminds me, Jim! Iíd nearly forgotten it. Say, I donít believe he has gone, that guy. This afternoon Iíll swear I saw him on West street. Or if it wasnít him it was his double. I didnít have a very good look at him, for he was going into that cigar store next to the express office, but it sure looked like him, clothes and all!Ē
Jim looked worried. ďMaybe it was just some fellow who looked like Webb,Ē he said. But his tone lacked conviction. ďHe promised me heíd go to Norwalk the next morning, and Iíd be right sorry to find he hadnít. Besides Ė Ē Jim didnít finish the sentence.
ďWell, you should worry,Ē said Clem cheerfully. ďIf he comes around here again just you hand him over to me, old son. Iíve got a system with pan-handlers and book agents and their ilk. Howís that for a word? ĎIlkí! Iíll say thatís cute!Ē
But Clem couldnít get Jim to smile. ďIt wouldnít do him any good to come to me again,Ē he said soberly. ďI havenít got any more money. I do wish, though, heíd gone like he said he would. That is, if he ainít.Ē
ďProbably he has,Ē replied Clem encouragingly. ďI dare say I was just fooled by a resemblance, Jim. After all, thereís quite a bunch of fellows of his style around town since they started the new factory up.Ē Secretly, though, Clem was convinced that he had not been mistaken, and two days later that conviction was strengthened.
Presently, returning to the original subject of discourse, he said: ďAbout coming into Janus, Jim. Suppose you just let it rest for a while. Thereís no great rush in the matter, anyway. Iíll let your name go over the next meeting. That will give you time to think it over. The expense isnít much anyway. Iíd tell you exactly, only itís against the rules to give out information of any sort. You take a couple of weeks and think it over. I want you to come in if you can possibly do it, old son, so donít say no now.Ē
So Jim didnít say no. He merely shook his head and, so to speak, laid the question on the table. After that, while Clem, propped against his pillow, read in bed, Jim took his football from the closet shelf, snuggled it lovingly in his lap and started all over again on the rules book. When Clemís book dropped from his hand and he turned over and closed his eyes, his room-mate was still fondling the ball and frowning over the apparent intricacies of the following: ďPlayers of the side which did not put the ball in play may use (1) their hands and arms to push opponents out of the way in order to get at the ball and (2) their bodies or their arms close to the body to obstruct opponents who are going down the field from getting at a player of their own side who is endeavoring to get at the ball.Ē
Jim rubbed a hand across his eyes and read it again. There were, he thought, too many ďget ats.Ē Maybe, though, he was too sleepy to Ė yes, to ďget atĒ the sense. Heíd try it again to-morrow.
AT THE POLICE STATION
If Wednesdayís practice had been stiff Thursdayís was adamantine. With the intention of providing better defense for the drop-kickers the first team was lined up near the goal and the substitutes were set against them. With Steve Whittier and Pep Kinsey alternating at kicking, all the rest of the first team had to do was keep the substitutes from breaking through or otherwise interfering with the kick. Myers was behind the subs and the manner in which he egged them on to atrocities of attack proved him, in the minds of the first team players, a man of singularly cruel disposition. Friendship ceased and no quarter was asked. Loring Cheswick at first, and then Benning, sped the ball to the kicker and simultaneously goaded by Myersí commands to ďBust it up! Get through! Use your hands!Ē and ďFight íem, Subs! Rip íem up! Block that kick!Ē the substitutes hurled themselves ferociously forward and committed nearly everything except murder.
Jim received hard knocks that afternoon. One of the knocks set his nose to bleeding and another crippled his left leg for the rest of the proceedings. But he managed to disguise the damage to his leg, and, of course, a bleeding nose was a mere incident, and so he managed to stay in and to give a very good account of himself. And it seemed once that the Demon Coach, as Myers was dubbed that afternoon, had determined to concentrate on Jim until he got results. He sent a two-man tandem at the right tackle position until he was finally satisfied that he was wasting his time. Perhaps he concluded that he was wasting players, too, for the members of the tandem, especially the second man, got rather roughly treated in the course of events! Jim found the head of the tandem could be thrown off in time to give full attention to the next comer, and, while Jim got some hard knocks, he certainly wore that second man out!
Sometimes the subs did get through and the ball went anywhere save over the goal, and then you should have heard Coach Cade become eloquent! As Jake Borden, right end, remarked, Johnnyís words were more refined-like but they cut deeper. Later, when the scrimmage started, Jim discovered to his dismay that he was playing with the subs. He jumped to the conclusion that he had been demoted and felt rather badly, which fact told somewhat on his playing, and, when the second team came over and took the place of the substitutes Jim was one of those who were sent to the showers. As a matter of fact he had been placed with the substitute team to strengthen the right of its line, and retired after the first half of the scrimmage because in the opinion of Jake, the trainer, he had seen service enough. But Jim didnít know that, and he returned to Haylow rather down in the mouth.
Fridayís practice was less severe, with the emphasis on signal drill and the handling of punts and passes, and the first-string players went through only a ten-minute scrimmage and were then sent off. Jimís misgivings were slightly assuaged when he read the list of the players who were to go to New Falmouth the next afternoon and found his name on it. If he was very bad, he argued, they wouldnít pay his railway fare! Then, feeling more chirpy, he went back to Number 15 Haylow and ran into trouble.
Clem, who had reached the room but a minute before, was gazing perplexedly at the third drawer in his chiffonier. He turned to Jim without greeting to ask: ďYou havenít had this drawer open, have you, Jim?ĒŮÍŗųŗÚŁ ÍŪŤ„ů ŠŚŮÔŽŗÚŪÓ
ŮÚūŗŪŤŲŻ: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17