My nephew Doug is getting ready for his first big game. He is a football player now. When he first brought home his uniform, he wore it for most of the day.
Doug came over and showed us his football gear. He looked so tiny in his football uniform. I could almost cry when I saw how the mammoth equipment engulfed him. His bright-red jersey should intimidate any opposition team.
He showed me his helmet. He took special note of the face guard, chin strap and soft padding inside. I was glad to see a plastic mouthpiece attached, leaving no emergency trip to the dentist.
Doug proudly shows a big number seven on the front and back of his jersey. He has shoulder pads under his shirt that adds a good six inches to his width. With the hip, knee and thigh pads in place he resembles a roly-poly about to tip over. He waddles as he walks. Only once did he step on my toes with his cleats.
I watched as my husband went out and showed him the right way to hold the football. His little fingers barely covered the lacing. When he brought up the ball so that it was just behind his ear to toss, it looked about the size of his head.
His first lesson was to take the snap of the ball. The football is held high, ready to throw then he lets his arm swing down in front. He drops the ball more than a few times. I yell that he should take the snap from his wrist. One more try and then the ball sailed across the grass.
They decided to throw the football in the front yard. The little guy’s first few passes were wobbly. I yell that my husband should move in closer. Soon he was throwing the ball straight to his uncle.
Keeping his eyes on the ball, my nephew is ready to catch the ball with both hands. More than once he missed it, so I yelled to my husband to move to the right. Soon the little guy caught it nearly each time.
They practiced passing the ball for a while and then started to punt it. The instructions were simple: Take a short step with your kicking foot, drop the ball as you step forward with the other foot and then kick the ball with the outside of your foot.
The nephew fell flat. I yell that he needs to kick it before it touches the ground. Two more attempts and my nephew kicked the football into the air.
I was glad to be out in the front yard helping. Each time I yell, my husband rolls his eyes. He suggests that I do NOT attend any of my nephews football practice sessions. I wouldn’t want to embarrass him, would I? He says it’s a “guy thing”.
Little Doug’s first football game was this week. Sitting on the bleachers, I watched him play football and I did not yell. Perhaps it was the way my husband grabbed my arm each time I tried to stand.
They won the football game and he knows he has to practice hard for years and years to become a professional player.
I wouldn’t save a place on the mantle for the Heisman t
rophy just yet.
Nancee Harrison is a past columnist for the Greene County Daily World. Visit www.blondeladywithdarkroots.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or send comments to Nancee, Daily World, box 129 Linton IN 47441.