Archived Story

Unusual goal line of yuccas made its points

Published 5:14pm Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Before we know it, football season will be here.

There will be plenty of football games at the prep, college and professional level to view, either in person or on by way of television. There will be plenty of backyard games, too — not to mention a few games in front yards and side yards.

Oh, yes! Those childhood games played after school and on weekends were the best.

I especially recall playing football on our corner lot at the intersection of Montclair Road and LaSalle Street in Pensacola, Fla. Why do those games come to mind? That’s easy to answer: because the west-end goal line was a row of yucca plants. That’s right, a row of yucca plants — with those thorny ends on each leaf.

Passing over those yucca plants for a touchdown was not much of a problem. Try rushing for a touchdown past yucca plants and a swarming defense. If a defender didn’t hit you before or as you crossed the goal line on a run, a yucca plant would. Get my point? Actually, it would be getting the yucca plant’s point — usually somewhere in a leg, arm or, on occasion, in the buttocks.

Ouch!

Sometimes one has to bleed a little for a touchdown.

Of course, the yucca plants came into use when they were used to shield one’s self from defender. Sometimes it was a defender who felt the sting of the yucca plant’s needle-point leaf instead of the runner. Yucca plants made great offensive linemen, but they couldn’t pull and block like a pulling guard could do. They didn’t have to do that to get their points across (pun intended).

I and my cousin Randy used to throw darts into each other’s legs to see who could stand such torture the longest. Hey, when you are 10 years old, throwing darts into each other’s legs made sense and helped pass a slow afternoon. So, a goal line made of yucca plants was no threat.

Although the yucca plants took us out of the game on occasion, we never took a yucca plant out of a game of football. Some yucca plants were injured, of course, but they recovered and had great careers.

I continue to wait for that third yucca plant from the right to be drafted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. It could have stopped Jim Brown, Gayle Sayers and Barry Sanders on any given Sunday.

As for playing football in cow pasture, that’s another story for another day. And that’s no bull. Well, maybe just a little.

Mike Voss is the senior member of the newsroom at the Washington Daily News.

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