Team Player

Episode Three Hundred Eight: Team Player.
In which we set precedent.

1 comment:

  1. Before I broke my thumb on the first day of contact practice and subsequently sat out my final season of football, before I refused to sign up the following season, having taken up cigarette smoking and not wanting to sacrifice the new activity to grind along with pointless old, before I would be ridiculed for bringing Latin homework as I sat with my increasingly-smelly arm cast on sidelines during practice. Before this coach would be suspended, along with his hick buddies, for teaching the community football kids to cheat-to-win, for bullying the kids, for breaking his hand on a passing traffic-sawhorse while driving one night, himself now in an arm cast. Before all that, I was an offensive lineman, a guard, which is to say I was always placed the the least-engaged position, slow-moving, slow-thinking, and reluctant to hit another player. This was the position for a kid without a future in contact sports.

    I liked the sensation of plowing into someone, kinetically, but I was also terrible at it. I often recall a scrimmage we played in which I was matched against a defensive lineman who growled loudly before each snap, and, despite his towering over me by at least a foot, managed to get me on his shoulder on each play and drive me straight back to the end zone. For the entire scrimmage, he ignored the running backs, and never attempted to sack the QB; he was set on repeatedly humiliating this passive milquetoast. He could have easily tossed me to the ground and moved on to the next player, but he didn't. Every time the ball snapped he scooped me up and pushed me back ten, twenty yards. There was nothing I could do - I couldn't seem to get lower than him. Every snap I found my toes dragging grass backward until he put me back down on the sound of the ref's whistle. I'll never forget that maniacal growl, and my feeling of utter helplessness. One Saturday afternoon; I never saw him again. My entire life has been a reenactment of that experience.

    Still, I was a wiseass, and my hick coach, before he was fired, brought his hick friends in to teach us wimpy kids to win. One such friend, assigned the offensive line coach, struggled to impress with the phrase 'peripheral vision', which he barely managed to get out of his mouth through his Southern drawl. I couldn't hold the offense line, but I was able to run circles around him with the obvious punchline. He didn't know how to respond, really.

    I like the skinny arms of the players here - reminds me of Doonesbury.



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