Monday, July 29, 2013

Let's Play some Football!

     The great Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant said, "If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride and never quit, You'll be a winner.  The Price of Victory is High but so are the rewards."  This is Football.  This is why the game is so great.  Hard work, dedication, mental and physical toughness, true teamwork, blood, sweat, tears, and leaving it all on the field.  Football, in my humble opinion, is the greatest sport in the world and can really show a person exactly what they're made of and possibly prepare them a little bit for the toughest and most brutal game ever...Life.  Well, there you go, it should be pretty obvious what my feelings for the game of football are.  Luckily, it appears that both my children have an affection for the game, although one seems to have more of one than the other.  Young Jesse Perry has embraced the game, and loves to play.  I am aware of his passion for baseball, and he may actually choose a bat and glove over a helmet and shoulder pads, but we've still got a few years to change that.  The following short stories are all football related:  Jesse the Madman, Flashback to 1989, and I'm officially Old are teed up and ready to kick.  I'll segue into the story part of this post and leave you with the words of Vince Lombardi, "The Harder you Work, the Harder it is to Surrender."  That's right, Football is here.
     Yesterday, I had an occasion to attend a football coaches meeting in lovely Morris, Alabama.  The Morris Blue Devils have a top-notch football program, and Jesse has played there the last two years.  I am a happy fella to say the least, because I'm back helping to coach football again.  I was involved with Jesse's football the first two years he played, and was head coach one of those years, but then the baseball bug really bit and we took a year off to play baseball.  I know what your thinking, "You did what?"  Yea, we took a year off from football to play baseball year round.  But we've come to our senses and been back in the game for the last two years, and I even get to help out this year.  Jesse came to the meeting with me, and it didn't take him long to get bored.  The meeting went like meetings normally go and like normal, a ten year old boy can only handle so much talking.  At one point he came over to me and just stood there looking at me.  I told him,"Jesse, either go sit down or go outside and find something to do."  He said, "Ok, but can I use your phone."  Begrudgingly, I approved this and gave him my phone.  He has several games on my phone and at the very least this would give him something to do.  He sat over in the corner while the meeting was going on playing on my phone.  Well, after a while I kept hearing Jesse talking to someone.  I looked over at him, and no one was there.  I thought I must be imagining stuff, but then I heard him babbling and carrying on again.  The boy was talking to himself about one of the games he was playing.  Now, I have been known to speak long dialogues with only me as a direct participant, because I have to speak with someone intelligent during the day.  However, I don't want folks thinking that Jesse is crazy.  I tried to get his attention, but he was so wrapped up in his conversation with himself, he didn't see me.  He was really carrying on, and eventually I got up to go to the bathroom, and got him to chill a bit.  I see people on the streets of Birmingham on occasion that are obviously dealing with mental issues, and they tend to talk to themselves or people who aren't there.  I don't want that for Jesse.  He comes from good stock on my Wife's side, but my people are kinda nuts.  I've got plenty of crazy, and I have to try and mute the Crazy in the children.  A little crazy is ok, but once folks have caught on that you ain't right, they tend to treat you different.  We'll try and work on that.  It works well on the football field, though.
     Flashback to 1989.  Two games in particular I would like to mention.  First, Fultondale vs. Tarrant the channel 6 game of the week that almost didn't happen, because of a hurricane.  I can't remember the name of the hurricane, but I remember the field being a swamp and we had to perform the coin flip in the gym at Tarrant High School.  I was a captain for this game, and one of the best quotes of that football season happened when we (The Captains) were introduced during the Friday pep-rally.  My fellow captain went by the nickname, "Hawgtosser" and he was possibly one of the strongest people I have ever met.  He was naturally strong and was one of those guys that didn't really have to work out to have that kind of strength.  State champion Wrestler too, Thus the name "Hawgtosser."  Well he stood up at the pep rally, and addressed the hurricane situation and said, "You've seen Hurricanes and You've seen Tornadoes, but you ain't never seen nothing like what's gonna hit Tarrant City tonight!"  Gotta give it Daniel Lee (that's his real name) that was a great quote.  We ended up beating Tarrant that night, and I even got on TV.  During the Channel 6 coverage, I was shown sacking the Quarterback.  Game #2 took place in Pleasant Grove, Alabama, and I had one of the most memorable moments of my brief football career (There wasn't much need for a 6'1 185 lb. Defensive End/Tight End with minimal skills at the next level.)  I picked up a fumble and returned it 50 yards for a touchdown en route to a 28-6 victory.  It was the spark that ignited the victory.  It was the catalyst for an awesome win.  It was really cool, to tell you the truth.  I don't really have a funny story to go along with the touchdown run unfortunately, but I wanted to find a way to get that in one of my blog posts.  I'm not above self-promotion.  To quote Bruce Springsteen, "Glory Days, They'll pass you by, Glory Days, In the wink of a young girl's eye."  You've always got the stories though, and they stay with you forever.
     I have tried to instill the love of football in my children, and it's had mixed results.  Maddie will sort of watch some Alabama games with us, but she would much rather watch Big Time Rush or Dora the Explorer.  She's tough though, and she loves to hit and wrestle.  You put her and Jesse together and they are one formidable entity for sure.  There was an occasion where we were playing a pseudo-football game in the house one day, and they both performed perfectly executed form tackles on me in the middle of the living room.  As I lay on my living room floor racked with pain, staring up at the ceiling, and not being able to move, the thought went through my head, "Well, I reckon this is that point that you realize that it's all over for sure.  You are a has-been and never will be again."  That is assuming, that you were "an ever were" in the first place...If that makes sense?  I can still bench press more than they can, and eat more hot dogs.  I still got a little game left.  I just have to pick the right game.  Candyland anyone?
     Well that's it for the football edition.  I won't bore you with an inspirational speech or my philosophy on football and life, but I will give you a fine Nick Saban quote that occurred in Death Valley, Baton Rouge, Louisiana a few years ago, right before the Crimson Tide defeated the Bayou Bengals at the Red Stick, "So I want everybody to think here for a second, how much does this game mean to you?  'Cause if it means something to you, you can't stand still.  You understand?  You play fast!  You play strong!  You go out there and dominate the man you're playing against, and you make his ass quit!  That's our trademark!  That's our M.O. as a team!  That's what people know us as!"  I couldn't have said it better myself.  Are you ready for some Football?