The wide receiver ran a post pattern. Mitchell bit on his outside move, then scrambled to recover. Looking back, he watched the quarterback launch the football his direction.
Mitchell followed the trajectory of the football as it sailed over his head. He breathed a sigh of relief. He was sure it was overthrown.
That’s when Mitchell saw his receiver wide open fifteen years down field. The ball fell into the receiver’s arms and he sauntered into the end zone. Mitchell dropped his head.
“What the hell was that?” Carter shouted at Mitchell. It was the weekly Friday afternoon football league at Micro-con industries. Carter was the captain of the Chargers.
“That’s halftime,” someone yelled from across the field.
Mitchell shook his head in disbelief. He was out of breath as he walked over to his team mates. “Sorry, man. I lost him.”
“Ya think?” said Carter.
“Give ol’ Mitch a break,” said Ramone. “He turned forty last month.”
“No, it’s on me,” said Mitchell. “Age is just a number.”
“But in your case it’s a really, really, big number,” said Carter.
Guys from both teams laughed.
“Seriously, we should put an age limit on teams,” said Tito, the Charger’s co-captain.
“Yeah, like thirty-nine,” said Luca.
“Don’t worry honey. I still love you,” shouted a woman from across the field. It was Patience, Mitchell’s wife.
“Of course she does. At his age she won’t have to put up with him much longer,” said Ramone. He gave Mitchell a pat on the back. “Sorry, man. I couldn’t resist.”
Laughter followed Mitchell as he walked over to the water jug. Alec met him on the sidelines and handed him a bottle of water. “That’s the first time I heard them make fun of someone else’s age.”
Alec was the oldest employee at Micro-con. He was hired out of retirement to work on the Intek account.
“That’s what I get for playing football with people half my age,” Mitchell muttered.
“Ah, don’t worry ‘bout those punks.”
“That’s easy for you to say. You’re not trying to keep up with them,” said Mitchell.
Alec chuckled. “Why would I want to? Personally, I think you’re nuts.”
“Because we’re too old for this crap,” said Alec.
“What if I don’t want to be older?”
“Think about it. Age sharpens you. You smarten up and stop actin’ like a fool. At our age, we finally know what we really want in life and we’re still able to get it,” said Alec.
Mitchell was hunched over with his hands on his knees. “You really think so?”
“Absolutely. And there’s an advantage to being ‘round the block a couple o’ times,” said Alec. He pointed back to the water jug.
The others players were passed out all over the field. Mitchell looked at them, then back at Alec. “What the-?”
“I spiked their water with rohypnol,” said Alec with a sly smile. He reached into a bag and pulled out a package of duct tape and two Sharpies. “Welcome to the best years of your life.”
This story is dedicated to my friend Norm for his fortieth birthday