From the Book:
clapped his hand. "We're wasting time. Let's try the Trampoline-Block
Pogo Punt Return."
The Monday Night Football Club got into position. Nick, the return man, went deep about 20 yards. He mounted the pogo stick and worked himself up to a slow bounce.
"Ready!" he called.
Coleman, the punter, started off the play. "Hut, hut, hike!"
As Coleman stepped forward to kick, Elliot, on defense, began his rush. He leaped onto the trampoline, launching himself high into the air. He threw up his arms to make the block.
Coleman punted. The football missed Elliot's finger-tips by half an inch. It soared up at a steep angle above the tallest trees in nearby Wigwam Park.
"Short!" cried Coleman.
It was true. In order to get the ball past Elliot, Coleman had punted high, but not far. The kick was not going to make it to the return man.
"I've got it!" shouted Nick, pogoing forward at top speed. He lurched and bounced to the spot where the ball was coming down.
It occurred to Nick at the last moment: there would be no way to make the catch without releasing the pogo stick. He was going to break his neck!
He let go of the handlebar and grabbed the ball just as the pogo stick struck a blue recycling barrel. The bin tipped over, spewing out cans, bottles and newspapers. Nick did a swan dive into the pile of recyclables.
The other two members of the Monday Night Football Club came jogging up.
"No good," said Elliot, sadly. "You made the catch, but not the runback."
"Awesome try, though," added Coleman.
As he got back to his feet, Nick lurched forward. "Whoa--"
Elliot grabbed hold of his shoulder and steadied him. "Are you okay? You took a pretty nasty spill, before."
A funny look came over Nick's face. "I'm feeling kind of queasy."
"Maybe you should see the nurse," Coleman suggested.
Elliot laughed in his face. "You always think everybody should check into intensive care."
But nick was very pale. "This time he could be right."
Copyright © 1997 Gordon Korman used by permission
After fumbling the Trampoline-Block Pogo Punt Return, Nick Lighter visits the nurse's office and learns he is coming down with the chicken pox, and will be stuck at home and away from fun for several days. If it weren't for some fast talking with his parents, he and his friends Elliot and Coleman would even have to miss a night of Monday Night Football. He should be absolutely miserable, but he's not:
The Monday Night Football Club has perhaps the most wonderful item of clothing in the world, a magical football jersey that allows anybody who falls asleep while wearing it to change places with one of their favorite football stars ... what better treasure could three dedicated football fans have?
Though Nick's obnoxious older sister, Hillary, Hillary, Heavy Artillery does her best to ruin the game (having been left in charge for the evening), the boys' spirits can't be contained, as it is Elliot's night to wear the itchy number 13 jersey; and when he trades places with his hero Barry Sanders, Hillary is the last thing on his mind!