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Left Guard Gilbert by Ralph Henry Barbour

I've got nothing against Robey


sir, thanks. I don't really need this contrivance; it's awfully clumsy; but Doc said I'd better wear it for a few days."

"Best to be on the safe side. I'll have you take one squad of these chaps, I guess, and I'll give the other to Lewis. You know the usual stuff, Gilbert. Rest 'em up now and then; they're soft and the weather's warm. But work 'em when they're working. Any fellow who soldiers gets bounced. All out, second squad!"

There wasn't anything that afternoon but the sort of drudgery that tries the enthusiasm of the tyro: passing the ball in circles, falling on it, catching it on the bound and starting. Don was surprised to discover how soft he was in spite of his daily exercise on the cinders. When the hour's practice was over he was just about as thankful as any of the puffing, perspiring youths around him. Considering it afterward, Don was unable to view the material with the enthusiasm Mr. Boutelle had displayed. To him the thirty-odd boys who had reported for the second team were a hopeless lot, barring, of course, a few, not more than four in all, who had had experience last season. In another week Mr. Robey would make a cut in the first squad and the second would find itself augmented by some ten or twelve cast-offs. But just now the second squad looked to Don to be a most unlikely lot. When he confided all this to Tim that evening the latter said:

"Don't you

worry, old man. Boots will make a team out of them. Why, he could make a football team out of eleven clothing store dummies! Sometimes I think that Boots ought to be head coach instead of Robey. I've got nothing against Robey, either. He's a bit of a 'miracle man' himself, _but_ for building a team out of nothing Boutelle has him both shoulders to the mat!"

"I don't believe Boots would want to coach the first," replied Don.

"Why not?"

"I don't know. He's sort of--well, he kind of likes to--Oh, I don't know."

"Very clearly explained, Donald."

"Well, Boots, if he was a soldier, would be the sort that would want to lead a charge where the odds were against him. See what I mean?"

"You mean he has a hankering for the forlorn chance business? Maybe so. That's not a bad name for the second, is it? The Forlorn Chances! I guess you've got him dead to rights, though. Boots is for the under dog every time. I guess coaching the first and having his pick of the players wouldn't make any sort of a hit with Boots. It would be too tame. Boots likes to take three discarded veterans, two crips and a handful of green youngsters and whittle them into a bunch that will make us sweat and toil to score on. And, what's more, he does it! Bet you anything, Don, this year's second will be every bit as good as last year's."

"I won't take it, because I think so myself," laughed Don. "I can't see how he's going to do it, Tim, but something tells me he will!"

"Oh, with you to coach the guards it will be no trick at all," said Tim, grinning.

Don smiled thinly. "I'll make an awful mess of it, I guess," he muttered.

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