I’ve Got Your Back

Posted: February 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

I guess I don’t talk much about my football days.

That surprises some people. I guess considering my hobbies and interests and the fact that I get antsy just watching sports, a lot of people don’t take me for a football player. Other people see the way I’m built (I’m a big dude- broad shoulders and all that) and don’t have too much difficulty accepting the fact.

So yes, I did play football, for one season, in my Freshman year of High School.

Anyway. It’s not like I was a star player or anything. Naw, I was solidly 4th string. I was only on the field during a game for two downs in the last quarter of the last game- when my intense lack of anything resembling skill or even knowledge of the game’s rules could no longer do any harm to our perfect 10 and 0 winning streak season. But still, I was part of the team. I was there for Hell Week. I was at almost every practice (barring this one time someone sent a kneecap into the meaty part of my thigh playing flag football during Phys Ed). And I was at every game, except for one up in L.A. or somewhere where the coaches were like, “You know, maybe we’ll just leave the 3rd and 4th string at home.

Anyway, prepare the inspiring music, here’s my uplifting sports story moment.

At the end of every practice we ran conditioning drills. This could be a variety of things- crabwalks, windsprints, but I think the one we dreaded most was the serpentine or something (I think that’s what we called it) where we all got in a big long line and jogged the field across the yard lines, and back, and it was just a pain in the ass. So anyway, one day I was a little more beat up than usual at the end of practice. And I literally collapsed during the run. I was lagging behind to begin with and then boom, faceplant. I was tired. I didn’t want to move. I would have been happy to turn in my pads and helmet right then and there. And then a few of the 1st stringers ran back and told me to get up.

Not in a harsh, “we’re going to upholster a bucket seat with the skin from your ass if you don’t get up” tone. But in a “come on, let’s finish this. Teammate.” sense. I mean, I meant nothing to the 1st string. I was just one of the 60 or so skill-deprived sons of bitches that showed up with no prior experience- I’d never watched a football game in its entirety or finished a game of Madden, even- who wanted to play football. But I was there day-in, day-out at practice, same as they were. I may not have been playing in the game or doing anything notable, but I was part of the team nonetheless.

I’ve always liked that kind of camaraderie. In football, on a team, it didn’t matter if you hung out with the 1st stringers at lunch. I didn’t. On the field, at practice, we’re all there, going through the same thing. We all weathered the sadistic whims of the coaches, we ran the same conditioning. It’s like that with the best teams I’ve worked with. It was like that with the BNBGaming team, as well. We may have been from different parts of the country and even world, but we had that camaraderie forged by being in the trenches of game journalism together. We all took a bite of the same shit sandwich.

If I may briefly quote from Henry V:

“For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother;…”

It’s an overdramatic example, to be sure. But knowing you can depend on your teammates- it’s a good feeling.

 

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Comments
  1. Pascal T says:

    Very well put! Apparently, we’re such gluttons for punishment that not only did we take a bite of that sandwich, but now we’re back for seconds!

    Sounds like you’re channeling Gunnery Sergeant Hartman from Full Metal Jacket near the end there. That and Shakespeare, so you know it’s good!

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