Friday, January 30, 2009

Wanna' Watch Some Football?

This Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday. Growing up, I remember that this big event came in January. But because of bye weeks or commercial deals or whatever, now the Super Bowl is in February, almost snuggling up next to Valentine's Day. Definitely something guy-inspired.

Because of the Super Bowl, I feel compelled to write about football.

When I was in high school, I remember going to pep rallies and games. But my most memorable football memory was of someone in class (not a friend, but an acquaintance) named Derek.

Derek was a sophomore in my English class. He was a tight end, and during the season (he played JV – junior varsity at the time), he broke his middle finger while catching a football in a game. I did not see the game, but his injury was the talk of the classroom on Friday. Okay, I did not really follow JV at the time – I would have thought the game was on a Friday night, but it was Thursday night when he broke his finger.

He had the finger in some sort of cast/splint, and it looked like he was giving the finger to the world. His middle finger had been broken. Broken bones are serious and all but this was funny on several accounts:

1. It was his middle finger. Feel free to do a high school giggle here.
2. He was a tight end. What a name of a position for a football player. Another giggle goes here.
3. Apparently, he was not given many opportunities to catch a ball, so breaking a finger during a rather rare catch opportunity was funny to some. I did not get it at the time, still don't, but that's okay. Did I mention it was the middle finger?
4. The guy was shy and unassuming, and this gave him a bit of notoriety. That made me laugh.

Having a broken middle finger is a bit funny, but you know, apparently receivers can't play very well with broken bones in their hands. The injury took a while to heal, so they moved him to defense, where his end was not longer described as tight. He now was something called a safety. Where receivers need soft hands to catch the ball, safeties need to anticipate where receivers are going and knock the hell out of them when the ball reaches them. Having been a receiver, this gave him a bit of an advantage.

Well, after his finger healed, he continued to play on defense, and not only did he play on the varsity squad for two years and receive a letter in football, but he also got a scholarship to a good school, received all-conference honors and even went to a professional training camp as an undrafted player.

After college, he became a salesman and eventually bought a franchise and is doing really well for himself. Most credit his post college success to his football career (apparently leadership skills are taught, not just how to hit the crap out of your opponent).

So breaking his middle finger sort of made him go in a slightly different direction. He may have been a so-so tight end (okay, he may have had a nice butt; I can't really remember), but he was a really good defensive player.

While I am watching the commercials at the Super Bowl, I will be thinking about how certain insignificant events perhaps have changed lives. Coca-Cola is probably going to piss me of with their "Mean Troy" Polamalu add. Guess he has not broken the middle finger.


LarryLilly said...

I was in the first class to go to a the towns first HS. As sophomores, we played in regular varsity games. Those first two years in just about all sports were were pretty much like that girls HS team that got beat 100 to 0. We were zeros.

That first season, during my first day of practice, even before we could wear pads I broke my ankle. Spent the year sitting on the bench, but it sure didnt give me any skills that i used later in life.

Well, except to reinforce how not to listen to docs. After my first 6 weeks of wearing a cast, which I was told to NOT PUT WEIGHT on, I did. Then when I was supposed to get it off, the ankle didnt set right and the ortho had to "re-set" it, which mean he re-broke it. The next six week visit, that cast was so white on the bottom you would think it were a catholic schools girl va jay jay!

Grant said...

W00t - Super Bowl XVIIQr37! Or as I call it - Sunday. I think I'll go shopping for clothes.