Friday, October 19, 2018

Freshman Football

This was printed in the Orlando Sentinel October 18, 2018.

This year one of my twins, Miles, played freshman football.

I had heard of JV and varsity but was unfamiliar with the freshman side of things.  I didn't even casually mention he should try out;  the whole thing was his idea. And get this, he knew nothing about football when he did.

Nothing? Nothing.

An example: Early on I asked him about their quarterback. He looked at me like I had two heads and said, "Who?" "The guy who gets the ball from the center." "Who's that?"

Like I said nada.

It was fun watching him blossom.

He came home one day after practice and said, "You know my teammates have my back." I thought, yeah, they do but he'd never played a team sport before, so everything was brand new to him.
Miles (90) on the sidelines

When they began their games I would go to show my support and watch him stand on the sidelines, hoping the coach would put him in.

A few things about the team, they ran virtually every play, no passing. And the players were small; they're in 9th grade. Miles is blessed; he's tall and rangy with the kind of physique that you can happily apply weight to.

The first time he got in to play, I was a crazy dad, hooting and hollering from the bleachers. I have to say I almost started crying. Picture taking on my cell phone was the order of the day.

I wrestled back in high school, and my father worked, so he only saw one match.

I pinned the guy, and afterward Dad rushed down to the mat, told me he loved me, how proud he was of me, and gave me five dollars. Back then that was gas money and you could even take your girl to Mickey Dee's. It's something I've never forgotten.

Maybe one day Miles will tell his kids about their grandfather watching their father play.
Me, Miles, Griffin

Okay, at last game of the season, I was in the stands with my other twin, Griffin, cheering on Miles. It was a close game but they scored in the final minutes and won 13-6. Watching he and his teammates celebrate was a sight to behold. You know the old adage: If you lose, everything hurts, but if you win...

Afterward, we drove to his school to pick him up and the scene was out of a movie.

It was high fives all over the place, and I saw one of the players crying in his dad's arms because the season was over. In the car as Miles was explaining all this to me and his brother, Griffin said, "You sound like you're about to cry." "I already did," Miles said back.

As I was driving home, with my football playing son, I thought, "Building memories."

And then it was a snack stop at 7-Eleven.

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