Thack You: The Game of Halt

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. There’s no church, and the newspaper is filled with colorful circulars from which to clip consonants and vowels for my letters to the Town Council. My peaceful day is ruined around mid-afternoon as family begins to invade my home.
The responsibility usually falls on me in these settings to come up with all the good conversation. Thankfully a football game will be on and provide us with talk that follows a path of injury and failing health. Of course, there’s always the ongoing debates. Cousin Chad will once again argue that football would be safer without helmets, while I maintain they are necessary to keep the players from biting. We will complete the checklist of stati for everyone’s terminal illnesses and scornfully conclude that it’s all in God’s hands. We will discuss Prince’s new biography. Aunt Deka will restart her debate that athletes should not only be banned from using performing enhancing drugs, but should also be forbidden surgery or treatment for injuries sustained while competing. She makes a lot of sense – if they can’t use drugs to help their recovery time, they should be banned from all methods of recovery.
After a full quarter without anyone on the TV getting hurt, we resolve to play a better version of the game – a game we call Halt. It is football with no touching and is far superior to traditional football. The following is a short version of the rules omitting the obvious standards of football.
Positions: Quarterback, Pass Rusher, and equal numbers of Receivers and Pass Defenders on each team.
• Team 1 kicks off at mid-field. Team 2 catches, composes self and then has 3-5 seconds to return kick (time depends on size of field). Team 1 counts out loud.
• When ball is snapped by one of the receivers the pass rusher on opposing team counts to 5 and waves arms distractingly at quarterback. Ball must be thrown prior to fifth second counted.
• A “caught ball” may be advanced toward the end zone until the possessor of the ball gets beyond all defenders. Once the runner gets away from the defense, the defense screams “HALT,” which stops the play. Defenders may not touch the receiver.
• An intercepted ball is given back to the offense and they lose 10 yards from the original line of scrimmage.
• Downs are infinite, extra points are earned by kicking at a tree or Grandfather. This game may be played with as little as three people – pass rusher/Nana is not necessary.
• Game ends when turkey reaches 155 degrees.
The Penalty for touching is to keep hands in pockets on next play. It’s fast-paced and can be played with virtually no athleticism or skill – great for white people. The Thacks have played this for years – and have never won.

Larry Thack’s been fired as Joe Biden’s sincerity coach

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