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Left Guard Gilbert by Ralph Henry Barbour

Thacher must be as bad as we are


In

the stands a fairly good-sized gathering of onlookers was applauding listlessly at such infrequent times as the maroon-and-grey team gave it any excuse. Thus far, however, exciting episodes had been scarce. The weather, which was enervatingly warm, affected both elevens and the playing was sluggish and far from brilliant. The Brimfield backs, with the exception of Carmine, who was always on edge, conducted themselves as if they were at a rehearsal, accepting the ball in an indifferent manner and half-heartedly plunging at the opposing line or jogging around the ends. As the first half drew to a close both goal lines were still unthreatened and from all indications would remain so for the rest of the contest. A slight thrill was developed, though, just before the second period came to an end when a Thacher half-back managed to get away outside Crewe and romped half the length of the field before he was laid low by Carmine. After that there was an exchange of punts and the teams trotted off to the gymnasium.

Don left the bench with the others, but did not follow them to the dressing room. Instead, he strolled down the running track and across to the practice field, where Tim was superintending the signal practice. Don joined him and followed the panting, perspiring players down the field. Tim's conversation was rather difficult to follow, since he continually interrupted himself to instruct or admonish the toilers.

"I

feel like a slave-driver, pushing these poor chaps around in this heat. How's the game going? No score? We must be playing pretty punk, I guess. What sort of a team has--Jones, you missed your starting signal again. For the love of mud, keep your ears open!--Thacher must be as bad as we are. Who's playing in my place? Gordon? Is he doing anything?--Try them on that again, McPhee, will you? Robbins, you're supposed to block hard on that and not let your man through until the runner's got into the line.--I could have played today all right, but that idiot, Danny, wouldn't let me. My knee's perfectly all right."

"Then why do you limp?" asked Don innocently.

"Force of habit," said Tim. "What time is it?"

Don consulted his silver watch and announced a quarter to four.

"Thank goodness! That'll do, fellows. You'd better get your showers before you try to see that game. If Danny catches you over there the way you are he will just about scalp you! By the way, McPhee, you saw what I meant about that end-around play, didn't you? You can't afford to slow up the play by waiting for your end to get to you. He's got to be in position to take the pass at the right second. Otherwise they'll come through on you and stop him behind the line. There ought to be absolutely no pause between Smith's pass to you and your pass to Compton, or whoever the end is. You get the ball, turn quick, toss it to the end and fall in behind him. It ought to be almost one motion. Of course, I know you fellows were pretty well fagged today, but you don't want to let your ends think they can take their time on that play, old man, for it's got to be fast or it's no earthly good. Thus endeth the lesson. Come on, Don, and we'll go over and add the dignity of our presence to that little affair."


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