One topic I have avoided writing about on this blog is my time on the high school football team. I have avoided it because I don’t want you to feel like a lesser human being. I was a pretty fucking big deal on the team if I do say so myself. Should I tell you now that I’m being sarcastic when I say I was an important cog on the football team? Okay, I will. The marching band had more of an effect on the outcome of the games than I did. It had nothing to do with skill but everything to do with heart.
(Like the Tinman, I lacked the heart it took to play football. Unlike the Tinman, I didn’t get cancer from a movie role. Did the actor get cancer or is this one of those Urban Legends?)
It’s not that I sucked at football or anything. In fact, in 8th grade I was Defensive Most Valuable Player during intramurals where I led Mrs. Chernoski’s homeroom to a championship picture. Yes, all we got was our picture taken together. My biggest play was during the championship game. My class was losing by a touchdown. For some reason the douchebag quarterback (redundancy) on the other team decided to pass the ball instead of running out the clock. Fuckface (trust me on this one, he was an awful human being and both of his best friends are dead now which is completely irrelevant but I want you to know there is at least some sick justice in the world) threw a long spiral through the air. Guess who was standing there to catch it because he was too slow to catch up with the rest of the team? Me! I ran it back half way down the field and on the next play my team tied the game which led to two more games until finally we sealed the deal. Considering I was 5’7 200 pounds and could actually move fast while my classmates were on average 5’5 120 pounds it was no surprise I was so incredibly dominant.
Naturally when high school came along it was clear I should play football. The thing about high school football though is it’s nothing like 8th period intramural flag football. You have to wear equipment, know plays, and exercise. What??? I played football almost every day at recess in middle school and trust me on this, I was amazing. I would have made a perfect tight end in high school thanks to my size and ability to catch the ball and not have consideration for the physical wellness of others. It looked like in high school I would find my niche.
The football team had an “open invite” to any freshman interested in joining the freshman football team that summer. Only about 15 kids showed up and I was one of them. Our duty was basically to stand around on a July day and give the mean black kids water. Coaches made us run a little bit too which I have never been a fan of doing. One kid found a football and we had our own little game. Mr. Gatto, fattest coach with a lisp who is rumored to have a gigantic penis (The Gattoconda), came over and told us to stop playing football at football camp. We were only there to observe. This was the moment I started to really hate football and everything about it.
(From what I heard this was pretty much what he looked like showering)
Actual practices for the freshman team started in mid-August. Mid-August was my annual trip to the Poconos with my dad and sister so I missed the practices. This was not a big deal until I came back. I went to a practice and everyone already had a position, knew plays, and a kid named Byron who decided to go by Wesley (what the fuck?) had already quit. I felt incredibly far behind in every aspect. I didn’t even know they made footballs without “Nerf” written on them.
The first real practice I went to was terrible. Another freshman was in the same position as me, a black kid named Lenny. We were the only two kids on the team without uniforms. The coach didn’t make a big deal because I was built like a football player and he assumed Lenny could run really fast, he could. I spent this practice running and getting equipment while wondering in my head what I had gotten myself into.
I have and never will be a big football fan. It took playing Madden for me to even understand the sport. I do not like football because: 1) There are not enough games. Football has 16 regular season games a year, one game a week. Baseball, my favorite sport, has 162 regular season games and there’s a game almost every night. 2) It’s mean. 3) Doug Flutie killed my family. 4) It’s tough to come up with real reasons. People say baseball moves slowly but at least it isn’t mostly clock watching. Clock watching makes me think of being at my grandmother’s where the only thing to do is watch the clock and look at her old Johnny Carson tapes she has sitting around.
(If Doug Flutie had a huge gay following they’d have the perfect name)
It was clear my career as a high school football player was not going to happen. I started thinking up as many excuses in my head as to why I shouldn’t stick with it. My excuses were 1) I had asthma and asthmatics always die during football practice. 2) My parents were too busy and wouldn’t be able to pick me up or take me to practices. 3) I didn’t know any of the plays and we had a scrimmage in a week. 4) Doug Flutie killed my family. 5) That whole showering with the same kids who make fun of you for being fat doesn’t seem like fun. 6) High school sports are for dicks.
I slid a note under the coach’s office door explaining to him that I would not be able to commit to the team due to personal reasons. I thanked him for the opportunity and he probably had no clue who the note was from. It took me longer to write up a letter of resignation than time I spent on a football field. What would have happened if I stuck with it? I predict I would have been really good. I would have been incredibly dominant, possibly gotten a scholarship, and in college football I would have been a sought after 7th round pick (that’s the last draft round). In order to do that I would have had to get even fatter than I already was. I didn’t and I will probably not die at 42 from Lou Gehrig’s disease which I think you shouldn’t be allowed to get if you play football.
The moral of the story, I don’t like football and I would probably have a lot of traumatic memories if I stuck with it. Thank goodness the rest of my high school experience was so honky dory. Tomorrow, the time the science teachers gave me a massive wedgy.