Tom Sorensen

Tom Sorensen remembers one of the great games of his youth – electric football

Those of us who grew up before computers retain a fondness for the games of our youth. We didn’t need some expensive computer to have fun. Of course, if we did have a computer-generated game we would have tossed our old ones.

A few years ago as Christmas approached I found an electric football game at Concord Mills. I wrote a column about it, and the column triggered a run on the games, according to the readers who emailed me. The result was odd. The store denied stocking electric football games and denied even selling one to me.

I brought the game home and my stepson took one team and I took the other. There were sticker-uniforms, a beautiful green metal surface, and a little brown foam football. I won the coin flip and before we started we concocted elaborate plays.

My first was a read-option for my quarterback. This is how you do it, Carolina offensive coordinator Mike Shula.

Washington owner Daniel Snyder once walked through the Bank of America press box and on all sides of him, front and back, left and right, were unsmiling bodyguards in dark suits. That’s what I did with my quarterback, surrounding him with bodyguards, albeit without the suits.

The defense, too, was ready, thought its overmatched coach. No defense was ready for this.

I hit the switch and the board began to vibrate and the disorganized defensive players immediately came undone. Ha. They went everywhere but my backfield.

My players, meanwhile, played like a team. Alas, they simultaneously decided to defect. They all took a sharp right turn and ran for the embassy on the sideline.

We tried two more plays and both were pretty much the same. Nobody wanted to go forward. We turned the board so the players merely had to cover the width of the field, which is what they had been doing. Again, they all ran off the board.

They were like NFL draft prospects who didn’t want to play in a consolation bowl for their college teams. I put the game away and never played it again.

Yet I’m glad I bought it. The anticipation before I brought it home was beautiful. We remember things not as they were but as we want them to be.

The waitress/nurse with the long brown hair I dated in 1976 undoubtedly looks the way she did. And unless we run into each other, she always will.

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

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