On Football

I can’t remember the exact context, but recently, Courtney and I were discussing the finer points of football etiquette. Specifically, she wanted to know what the deal was with NFL players celebrating like newby poker bitches after every tackle and offensive gain of more than 2 yards. She asked me about my experience, and I related the following to her:

When I played football in high school, I played both offensive and defensive line. I hated offensive line because I thought I sucked at it, but coach though I was good and started me all the time at offensive tackle. Conversely, I loved defensive line, and I guess my coach thought I was pretty good at that, too, because I usually started defensive tackle or nose guard. For folks who haven’t known me too long, I used to tip the scaled at close to 3 bills and bench 250: downright Hayes-like in both size and strength (although Chris still had to add plates at the bench when we worked out together). Back to the point:

As a nose guard in one game, I had 5.5 sacks against Brockton’s JV squad. Not tackles, but sacks. What was my reaction? None, because I didn’t realize I’d done anything good until coach told me after the game that five and a half sacks is worth something. What was my manner of celebration when I made a sack, recovered a fumble, or made an interception (which happened once or twice)? None. I just went back to the defensive huddle and listed to my man Jon Kirk call the next set.

That might make it sound like I was some manner of puppy dog or something, but I wasn’t. I can honestly say that during my time on the defensive line, I was more violence-prone and angry than I was during those long months in Afghanistan, when I was getting rocketed quite frequently. I ain’t bullshitting. In Afghanistan, we would kibbitz while rockets were coming in: making jokes about how poor Ahmed’s aim was, or talking about future sandwich franchises we hoped to own. In contrast, when I was in a 4-point stance at 15 years of age, waiting for the snap as a frigging sophomore in high school, I was thinking of nothing less than busting through the offensive line like a freight train and ruinating the quarterback…putting such a hit on him that he would not get up off the ground.

Once, against New Bedford, I did indeed put a sick hit on the QB, laying him out for several minutes and putting him out of the game. I was the first person to call for first aid, yelling like a nancy until they came to help him. I felt sick to my stomach until they evacuated him and replaced him with someone else. Before the next snap, I was back to thinking about how the offensive line needed to be subjugated to my will and the quarterback laid out like a body at the morgue. Strange, indeed.

What’s my point? I’m not quite sure. It boils down to this, though: I understand what goes through the mind of a football player, because I’ve been there. I understand the desire to triumph in the most spectacular manner possible. What I don’t understand is the voluminous amounts of celebration that happen after every play. I wanted to win, but each play is only part of the game. Wait until the refs blow the whistle ending the 4th quarter, because then, and only then, have you won the game. Then it is appropriate to celebrate. To celebrate before then makes you a hooker. Suck on that, TO, while you sit at home watching the game on TV.

~ by kinshay on 2005-11-12.

No Responses Yet to “On Football”

  1. My Dad said it best about excessive celebrations in football: “When you get there, act like you’ve been there before.”

  2. Can we take a second away from these attention starved jackasses for a moment of silence please?

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