Man, I loved my parachute pants.
Posted 10 December 2015 - 10:45 AM
I meant to share this on the 25th anniversary, which was November 3, but I forgot.
Captured on film, is what I believe, the pivotal moment of my life.
A little backstory.
I played sports growing up, like most boys. Since I was tall, basketball was the main sport, although IMHO, I didn't become "good" until my 20s. (I still play regularly today. It's the only form of exercise I get.) But I played everything in the backyard with friends.
Loooong story short, one of my good friends is a super-athlete. He was the quarterback for my high school team. One day while playing a pickup game of football, we were an unstoppable force, with him playing QB & me playing wide receiver. He talked me into joining the football team, a sport I never played at an official level.
I went out for spring football during my junior year & had ZERO clue as to what I was doing. I had no idea how to put the pads on, strap my helmet on, nothing. But I made it through.
I spent all summer working out on my own. Running, pushups, situps, etc., just to make sure I would be ready for practice in the fall.
Fall comes around and my friend decides he doesn't want to ruin his promising baseball career, so he quits the football team. Gulp.
I'm still kind of lost out there, not knowing what's going on, but I'm having a good time. I'm practicing at wide receiver and free safety. Our first game comes & I only play a couple of plays at wide receiver. We lose. The second game, we're getting destroyed & I barely play. Near the end of the game, the coaches put me in at free safety. In the rain, in a blowout, I manage to intercept a pass.
After the game, the coaches decided to switch things up on defense, benching one of our cornerbacks and moving the starting safety to corner. Guess who the new starting safety is?
The next game comes, another loss. However, I intercept two more passes. Now I'm feeling pretty cocky, so of course I don't get any in our next two games. But the game after that? Two more! (I was also named the Domino's Pizza Defensive Player of the Game by our local radio station and I spent all winter eating Domino's and playing Nintendo. Good times.)
Still no wins. But the next game, I'm playing hurt. My lower back got strained during the week & I could barely walk. No practice. Game day comes around & I'm starting again. Another interception and a WIN! 7-6!
The next game is November 3. It's unseasonably warm, around 70 degrees. We took the SATs in the morning & played in the afternoon. For once, we're on the good side of a blowout. It feels great. In the fourth quarter up comfortably, this happens:
My seventh interception of the season, but my last. Torn posterior cruciate ligament in my left knee. The Hartford Whalers team surgeon performed the surgery and I was playing small-time college basketball less than a year later. (I've had four more surgeries on the same knee for torn cartilige.)
I say this is a pivotal moment in my life because I was catching the eye of some college football coaches. Believe me, nothing major, but smaller schools, Division 3 or so. (I managed to make all-conference Honorable Mention! ) Because of the injury, those opportunities were no longer there and I went to a school with no football. That path has led me to where I am today and although there have been some major bumps, I can't complain one bit about where I'm at. I wouldn't have my wonderful daughter!
And I was a pretty damn good flag football player after that.
Sorry for the long post...
- The Professor, RickR and Arenafoot like this
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