Football is a great sport. I played it from the time I was 9 until I graduated from college. I have heard some say that they learned about life in the weight room, but that is not the case for me. I learned a whole mess of lessons from football. I think that most men learn the biggest life lessons from football, combat sports, or the military. Probably rugby, too, but I don't know shit about it. Those fuckers can hit, though.
Also, it teaches you to respect authority. I know everyone calls their coaches by their first name and shit these days, all buddy-buddy and hugging every time you wipe your ass correctly, but that stuff didn't fly when I was a kid. It was always, COACH, and when he got pissed at you, it was rough. Lots of waking up at 4am to run and up-downs and extra sprints. His word was law, hell, all the coaches' word was law, and I learned a bunch about respecting authority. I mean, sometimes you wished something bad to happen to your coaches. They could be pretty tough on a player. But you took it and learned and kept your mouth shut. You know that all that respect stuff doesn't exist today, don't try to lie about it. Kids just do what the hell they want, say all kinds of shit to their coaches like they are on an equal level. Men that coached me smoked Malboro Reds and lined up beer bottles as football players to work on plays. The good ones had a bunch of common characteristics: Patriots, blue-collar workers, tattoos. Some had slicked-back hair like the 50's guys. Some were Marines. I'm sitting here laughing about how manly these guys were. It was so great. My Dad's manly as hell and then I go to football practice and the guys there were real men. I'm not thinking that any of them had a whole bunch of football knowledge, but then again, maybe they did. They taught me how to block and tackle, get in a stance, and all that. That's what I needed. And they cussed a bunch and nobody cared. You'd drive up to practice and the coaches would be leaning on their trucks with their ladders across the top of them and they'd be smoking. One time, when I was playing 80 or 90-pound football, my coach put a hit out on an opposing player. He didn't like the kid, he had purposefully injured another player. So he designed a play where all of us went after the kid. That kid was like, what the hell?? Imagine that was done today! On the front page of some liberal mag, "Coach puts hit on player, get's indicted". You know that could happen.
You learned that you can ignore a whole bunch of stuff, like injuries. People that got injured a lot were looked down upon, it is the truth. If you laid on the ground a bunch on the field, people thought you were a pussy. I remember this one kid, Donnie, would cry once in a while. We were like 11 years old. I remember looking at him, like crying on the field? Strange. But his family was all messed up, his parents were all messed up with divorce and so we can give him a pass on the crying thing. I guess. If you broke a bone, it was okay. But if you had a pulled muscle or something, you needed to get back in there pretty soon. I remember one time when I was coaching, I had a kid break his thumb and he was lying on the ground. I was like, What's wrong? He says it's my thumb. I say, what's wrong with your legs? He says, nothing. So I say, then stand up. And he goes, Oh yeah, and stands up. Now, coaches tell their players TO LIE ON THE FIELD WHEN THEY ARE HURT. We didn't do that, get your ass up! So it taught you to be tough, basically. And that life isn't fair and people just want to win and things move on without you. I mean, coaches care and all, but you gotta get off the field at some point so practice can continue. And then the season continues with or without you, damn your feelings. There is nobody that worries about your feelings in football.
It taught me how to get along with people. So when I was a kid, all the white folks lived on one side of the railroad tracks, and all the black kids lived on the other side. But we all came together on the football field. Not one problem. I know it's cliche but screw it, damn truth. Football does stuff like that to folks. People don't talk about that very much.
It taught me to be early. You late? get up at 4 and run. You late? The whole team is running because of you. So, you get there 10 minutes early.
There is so much more stuff that I learned from football, but I'm gonna go retrieve with Rebel. He's begging me. Until next time...