He was everywhere: he was at the communion rail,

the fifty-yard line

, he played the oboe with the Chamber Music Club, drove the fire truck, served on the school board and rode the 8:03 into New York every morning

1 Answer 1


The fifty-yard line is the center line of a football field (American football). To be "at the fifty-yard line" is to be a player in a football team, and actually take part in the game (and not on the sidelines), most likely the beginning, which starts in the center of the field.

EDIT: As StoneyB pointed out, the game starts by a kick-off (unlike the soccer game that starts at the center). So, the fifty-yard line separates the "home-visitors" zones, as you are on the field and at it, you're in the middle point from your end zone to the opponent's. Spectator seats closest to the fifty-yard line offer the best view of the game.

Whether "he" was a player or a spectator should be clearer from the context.

  • 2
    Right church, wrong pew. US football starts with the ball kicked from the 35-yard line (40 in high school ball). Players in the game may be anywhere on the field, and players on the sidelines, who may be freely substituted for those on the field, are scattered up and down the length of the field. "On the 50-yard line" here means that Larry Crutchman was a dedicated supporter of a football team (probably that of his alma mater) and wealthy enough to have season tickets in the best seats in the stadium. Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 21:57
  • Interesting. You should make it to separate answer, @StoneyB to see if other native speakers have same association. Seems like proverbial "good man", fire truck volunteer, oboe player and all. Not a football jock. Makes sense. Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 23:17

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