August is fading away like my favorite 5 yr. old sweat-shirt. That means it’s time for some football! Are you ready?
I thought I was when I signed up for high-school football. Yep, way back in the day when I was a lean, mean fighting teen. Really, I was! I had a gang of friends at the time and we would get together every evening after supper and play in an empty lot until it was too dark to see. I would go home bruised, tired and dirty…ready to dream of scoring the winning touchdown in the Rose Bowl. Natch’ I would try out for my high school team. It would be fun. But it wasn’t quite what I expected.
First I had to convince Mom. Never had I spoken so eloquently and never had I seen such a stony face. Luckily, Dad flew home and saved the day (‘It’ll be good for the boy’). Then came weeks of 2-a-days, which mostly consisted of running wind sprints, rope climbing, pushing around a blocking sled manned by an insane coach, running up and down the stands, tire drills, calesthenics and a hundred other things all designed to make you puke in the humid heat of South Texas. Next we were issued practice uniforms and ordered to get marine hair cuts…high and tight. What?!? That was almost as bad as the helmets which were so snug they’d nearly rip your ears off when you put them on. I can remember painfully trying to unfold my ears through the helmet holes…oww,oww, oww. We also got fitted for mouth guards…gag, urp, hack! That led to contact drills. The bruises got bigger and purplier as did Mom’s glares. August was almost over, school was ready to start, and so far no fun at all. Every night I spent hours memorizing the playbook. Dudes, this was like physical, punative homework. Where was football?
Finally, the first week of school. I was about to discover Texas’ biggest religion – Friday night high school football played under the lights. There was a pep rally and the team was introduced. ‘Oh yeah, baby – check me out, but don’t touch! (well, maybe later!). We were issued our game uniforms…silver and gray with a screaming hawk astride a fiery rocket. We looked tuff and buff. Coach gave us a last, quick pep talk and we walked out to defend our home field against the visiting and notoriously evil Shertz-Cibolo Wolves. OMG – the stands were full, there were cheerleaders, the band was playing…”pass the ball right down the line boys, we will win tonight – fight, Fight, FIGHT”! Did I mention the luscious cheerleaders? It was totally awesome. We would go on to win that game and finish the season 9 and 0. But we weren’t allowed to go to the play-offs because most of us were transient military dependents without established local residency, a rule later amended. I got my bell rung a few times but always quickly scampered off the field. A fella’s worst nightmare is that his mom might come running down out of the stands all weepy and hysterical saying, “See, I told you this would happen!”
So as August slides by the memories come flooding back and I get anxious ‘fo sum football’. So does Pinky , but she’s Cardinals and I’m Seahawks and that leads to some serious family feudin’…there’s ice cream shooters at stake, baby! To help us prep for game day and the upcoming season we have a little something to whet the appetite