FLAG FOOTBALL FRENZY

“Whaderya doin’ out there! Whadawe practice? That ain’t what we practiced! Git in there and hit `im hard! Take `im down!” said the Daddy in the “Jesus Saves” t-shirt to his 7-year old son.
I was sorely tempted to demand he remove his shirt and Go to Hell immediately. Surely, Jesus wouldn’t want this fat, foamin’ at the mouth, football fanatic up there painting his beer-gut in celestial team colors and cheering for Saint Peter.
“Boot em out Pete! Boot em hard! Jus’ like we practiced!”
About that time another Dad screamed, “Roll into the pocket! Can’t you see the pocket?!”
These are 7-year olds! As far as they are concerned their pockets are on their pants! Okay, I just don’t get it. And coming from a stint in AYSO soccer, where even lil’ Arthur the lame asthmatic gets a fair amount of play and patted on the head for his efforts, I found myself woefully unprepared for the brutal football mentality.
I shot the “Jesus Saves” guy a “somebody ought to report you to child welfare” look.
For the next few hours, I watched my son alternately flee from the ball or get bonked in the head by it. Then, he practiced his passes, which wavered and then fell short, hung to the far side of nothing or landed behind him. So maybe he won’t be the next Peyton Manning prodigy by age ten…. And yes, when I was dressing him in his UT attire at six months old, I secretly thought the Big Orange Gridiron might be his destiny. I was wrong. Wasn’t I?
Perhaps it is not too late. I can practice with him at home. Every Day! Practice makes perfect, right?
Whoa! Wait a minute. Is this how it starts? Practicing at age five progresses to yelling at him to draw blood by the time he’s nine? Is this a gradual sickness? Well, I am not to be “like that.”
I forced myself to stop fretting over whether or not my son had the makings of a future champion… or at least something worthy of a college scholarship – and found a comfortable spot on the bleachers. Well, as comfortable a spot as one can find on bleachers.
During the game, I became annoyed by those herds of Dads who walk the sidelines, following line of scrimmage. Thanks to one Dad’s plaid-clad rear, I missed our team’s 60 yard drive.
“Hey, Hey!” One of the Daddies Yelled, “Don’t ya’ll call holding in this league! Then, you need to move them back down the field… I don’t know what ya’ll call holding, but….”
I rolled my eyes at the blustering Pop. What an idiot! Of course, they’re holding. They’re grade-school boys. Snagging shirt tails to tame the opponent is instinctive.
I think we just ought to consider ourselves fortunate they aren’t out on the field expressing their umm… talent for flatulence, picking their noses and gazing into the clouds. After all, this is what young boys tend to do before they grow into men and restrict these types of pleasurable activities by at least 2% a year. .. in front of polite company anyway.
Wait… what the…
“Hey Boy!” I yelled at my son, “Finger out of the nose. Eyes out of the sky and head in the game! We ain’t havin’ a picnic out here!”
-Sigh –
Anyone know where I can get St. Peter fan apparel and some saintly-colored face paint?

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