What on earth does “hook and ladder” mean. It conjures up all kinds of images in my mind. I can see a movie starlet like Elizabeth Taylor snagging her shapely stockinged leg on some kind of metallic object and a stocking ladder climbing purposefully up her glorious thigh as a result. I can see a fisherman trying to cast his line from a grimy old wharf but he continually spoils the cast by getting his hook caught in a ladder some fool has left in just the wrong place. I can see one of those metal hooks you see on the end of a ladder to stop it from falling down. Well, all of these obvious things are way off.
It is actually a delightfully sneaky play from American (grid-iron) football. In this play the wide-receiver executes a “hook”… meaning he fakes a direct down-field run then hooks back infield to receive a short forward pass from the quarter-back. Then comes the little bit of magic… the big surprise. The secondary defenders converge on the wide receiver who now has the ball thinking that when they smash him that will end the play with not to much damage done. Little do they know that the play is only just beginning. Instead of running to make further ground the ball carrier then spots a team mate running behind him angling towards the touch line. The ball carrier then executes a lateral pass (a ladder) to his team mate who explodes down field with the ball leaving the defensive team in shock and scrambling to kill the play. Delicious. I love lateral passes.