Armadillo football

Rick Ryckeley's picture

Nothing good could come of it, but like moths drawn to a hot porch light on a cool summer night, we just had to look. After all, it’s not everyday we saw an armadillo the size of a football padding his way across Flamingo Street, totally unaware of a freckled-faced boy with bright red hair bearing down on him.

By the age of 10, I’d lost count of how many times I had used or heard the battle cry of my youth, “Hey, watch this!” Those words were usually soon followed by either me or one of my three brothers screaming, then crying, and being quickly scooped up by Mom or Dad for a quick trip to see Doc Jim and receive stitches.

This time it wasn’t one of us who had uttered the infamous statement, but our down-the-street neighbor, Goofy Steve.

Now, Goof was the only person on Flamingo Street who had been to see Doc Jim more than we had. It seemed like he had done everything a kid could possibly do to get hurt, but trying to use an armadillo as a football was a new one.

For those of you who haven’t seen an armadillo up close, I’ll describe what one looks like. The armadillo that Goofy Steve was trying to sneak up on resembled a giant rat the size of a football. It was covered in armor, had a spiny tail about a foot long, and was toting a really bad attitude backed up by a mouth full of razor sharp teeth. Not your typical furry, cuddly forest creature, to say the least.

Did any of this seem to bother Goof? Nope. As he ran down the street towards the armadillo and his date with Doc Jim, we all figured Goof was either really smart or really stupid. Turns out the latter was true.

Normally, Goof never hurt anything. Even when we roasted ants with the new I Spy magnifying glass, he would have no part of it. He couldn’t even stick a hook through a worm, but when it came to armadillos, seems Goof had a real mean streak. Guess it might have something to do with that scar on his arm. We all thought the scar was caused by Brat, his tabby cat, but he never talked about it.

“Armadillos are different,” he explained, “they can’t be hurt. They’re all covered with armor.” It was the first thing Goof taught me about armadillos. The second was that they get really mad when you punt them. The third thing was the most important: once punted across the street, they can chase down a 10-year-old boy running as fast as he can to get away.

With his face fixed in a mask of determination, Goof readied himself. The monster armadillo hopped unknowingly from the curb, out onto Flamingo Street, and toward his date with destiny.

The brain of an armadillo is about the size of a marble, but somehow it has survived almost unchanged since dinosaurs roamed the earth. Feeling threatened, it has the ability to curl itself up into a tight ball, becoming a not-so-tasty morsel.

When the marble-sized brain of the monster armadillo detected Goof about to kick, the animal lived up to its name and quickly curled up into a tight, very hard, armored ball.

A truly bizarre set of events happened next. With a tremendous crack, Goof kicked the curled-up armadillo, sending it bouncing across the street. It eventually landed on Thomas’s front lawn, uncurled, and started to hiss at Goof.

The loud crack we heard standing 20 feet away didn’t come from the armadillo when it was kicked, but rather from the breaking of Goof’s foot.

We learned a lot that day. First, Goof, with a foot broken in two places, could barely outrun an armadillo. Second, if you’re mean to animals, they have ways of being mean back.

Our summers spent on Flamingo Street were a long time ago. Since then we’ve all grown up and realize that mistreating animals, even ones covered in armor, is wrong.

Guess Michel Vick hasn’t learned that lesson yet. Maybe the Falcons will kick him off the team, and the NFL will punt him out of football forever. Maybe then he’ll understand.

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TonyF's picture
Submitted by TonyF on Sat, 07/28/2007 - 9:38am.

"Maybe the Falcons will kick him off the team, and the NFL will punt him out of football forever." The thing about this Michelle Vicky fiasco that gives me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach is: Vicky has probably punched his ticket to Canton, and it wouldn't surprise me if he gets off and the NFL welcomes him back with open arms(and wallets).

"The memories of a man in his old age, are the deeds of a man in his prime.You shuffle in the gloom of the sick room,and talk to yourself as you die."
(R. Waters)

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