Thursday, October 18, 2007

Thursday Night Lights

First things first--stop by my favorite Eskimo's site to wish her a Happy Birthday!! Love ya, babe!
I got the call at work this afternoon. It's S3.
"I don't think I let you know yet, but your nephew's playing for the championship tonight. You should come. It's a family thing." Rachel knows more about my family's activities than I do.
"OK. I can probably be there."
Tonight was the Small Fry city championships. Junior and senior divisions. Or whatever they're called. The 5th/6th graders at 6:00, and the 7th/8th graders at 8:00.

Rewind back to the late 60s. As a student at Bishop Gilmore Elementary School, I didn't have the opportunity to play organized football. Not really high on the nun's list of activities. My only consolation--there was no organized football in the public schools either. And there wasn't a Small Fry organization at the time. So my official football initiation was with all the other 7th grade boys.

Fast forward to the early to mid 90s. If I'd had my shit together, I could have possibly been the father of a hotshot QB who could take care of his old man well into his twilight years. But alas, that didn't happen.

Fast forward again to this evening. My nephew's team (sponsored by Capital Ford--oddly, no team mascot!) vs. the team sponsored by Universal Athletics (also no mascot). UA has had a long history of playing for the Small Fry Championship (both divisions). Their coaches came out in matching windbreakers, and their teams look just a little bit bigger, with a bit more swagger. But Capital's coaches came out with their team looking hungry for an upset. Their head coach happened to be BIL3, so when S3 said it was a family affair, she wasn't kidding. Other than the family members who were out of town, everyone was there.

This post isn't so much about the game on the field, but the non-football action going on, and the sorts of things I missed by not being a football dad.
  • They played on a full sized field, and under the lights. Complete with P.A. announcer and full scoreboard! I don't think they were prepared for that.
  • Probably 500 people there to watch the first game. And the same number for the second one. And a noisy bunch, too!
  • The five girls (little sisters, probably) who acted as unofficial cheerleaders for the Capital side. Obvious that they've been watching their high school counterparts. The fun part--the crowd actually followed them!
  • The 6 or 7 boys on the team that spent more time leading cheers from the sidelines, oblivious to the fact that there was a football game going on. To their credit, they did spend alot of time flirting with the cheerleaders. Their dads must have been proud.
  • The football dad in the stands who was just a little bit too much into it. Seemed obvious that he was probably a second stringer for most of his life.
  • The Capital running back who broke out for a 45-yd touchdown run, and was promptly flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for doing a somersault over the goal line. Gotta nip that shit in the bud at an early age. Cost the team 15 yards on the extra point (which they didn't convert). He had no desire to head to the sidelines for the rest of the game...
  • The yelling from a normally quiet grandmother when a UA player got hurt, not realizing he was hurt. And from a nurse, at that!
  • After the game was pretty much decided, both teams put the second stringers in (mostly 5th graders) for the last two minutes. Including the cheerleading football players. Once they found their helmets. I had visions of "Bad News Bears". I swear I heard the "Toreador Song" from Carmen in the background...
For the record, Capital beat UA, 25-6. The nephew alternated between QB and wide receiver, and played outside linebacker on defense. Caught a long pass, could have caught another one (should have stretched out for it...), and made two open field solo tackles. All in all, a great way to spend a Thursday night!

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