Book Excerpt: The Hand-Off

I’ve been working really hard on my book these last few months. Thought I’d share a small excerpt from one of the chapters I’ve been polishing up.

This is from sixth grade…


Moving day was here, and with it came the realization of another benefit to being a runt: the best way for a scrawny kid to help out on moving day is to stay out of the way.

It seemed like our entire church family came out to help us move, which meant most of our friends were there to check out our new house, and more specifically, our new backyard. Our new yard was at least twice the size of our old one with no car-filled, maggot-infested parking lots in sight. Fenced in on all four sides, it was the perfect size for a game of pickup football or baseball. Some of my friends even said they were jealous and wished they had a yard like ours, which made me feel great. Other than my mad skills with the ladies, no one had ever been jealous of something I had before.

According to the Rules of Being a Kid, Section 2.8, Article C, “no gathering of 6 or more boys can take place without a game breaking out”. So we did just that, organizing an impromptu football game in the brand new Allain Stadium (naming rights would later be sold to Little Debbie Oatmeal Crème Pies). Josh dug our NERF football out of one of the moving boxes and we lined up against the fence to pick teams, a ritual we had done a hundred times before. Only this time, something happened that none of us were expecting.

None of the girls our age were even remotely interested in playing football with us, but one of them had brought a friend from school named Pam, and as we were picking teams Pam announced she wanted to play.

We informed her we were playing tackle, figuring she would shudder in fear at the notion of being pulverized by a gang tackle of angry 10-year old boys. “I know,” she said, “I like tackle better anyway.” Apparently our scrawny frames weren’t exactly fear-inspiring.

When scaring her off didn’t work, we went the more direct (and much more mature) route and told her she couldn’t play. Sorry, no girls allowed. Take your estrogen and go play Barbies.

The rest of the girls, who had all rallied behind her at this point, countered by complaining to the adults, who were too busy carrying heavy objects and assembling bunk beds to care about the sanctity of our game.

“If Pam wants to play, let her play,” they said. You’ve got to be kidding me.

Desperate times called for immature measures, so we decided to enact Plan C. If we had to let her join in, fine, she could play. But on the first snap of the game we’d show her why girls don’t play football with boys. Whoever was the quarterback in Pam’s huddle was going to call for a hand-off to her right up the middle. What she didn’t know was the play was destined to fail. None of her teammates were going to block for her, so she’d be running right into the teeth of an angry all-testosterone defense.

Pam and I were on the same team, so I was in the huddle when the play was called. I had my eyes on her the whole time because I wanted to see the look of death creep onto her face when she heard she was getting the ball, but she didn’t flinch. She almost looked happy about it, which was odd to me because I would have rather eaten a NERF football soaked in clown tears than take a hand-off up the middle. Clearly this poor girl had no idea what was about to happen to her.

We got up to the line of scrimmage, hiked the ball, and Pam took the hand-off. Per the plan, all of her teammates parted like the Red Sea. She tucked the ball into her elbow and smashed herself into the 3 guys waiting to tackle her. Two of them bounced off of her and fell to the ground, the other guy held on for dear life as she dragged him down the field. A fourth defender came over and grabbed her, the two of them finally pulling her down, but not before she had made it halfway across the yard. She popped right up and headed back to the huddle.

All the girls, who had been watching from the patio, cheered and screamed.

All the guys looked like they had just seen Bigfoot giving Jesus a piggyback ride.

And all I could think was, “Thank goodness she’s on my team.”


this excerpt from the upcoming book, “The Mercy Rules” by Bryan Allain, is sole property of your mom. All rights reserved, no lefts reserved. Who knows if and when it will be released…stay tuned here over the next few months to find out.