After writing back to back posts about politics and religion, I needed to write about something a little lighter. And football, at least when you aren't writing about the Oakland Raiders' offensive line, is comparatively weightless after tackling Donald Trump and abortion.
So football it is.
Ian and Elliott finished up their flag football seasons last Saturday. They played on different teams this year, which made it challenging, especially since both boys wanted me to coach their teams. Working two jobs and training for a marathon - the hardest uncompensated non-job known to man - left little time for practices two nights a week and the Saturday games. But I'm defenseless when it comes to that look in their eyes: "will you coach my team dad?"
I was lucky to have some great assistant coaches. One of them was Katie, who made her football coaching debut and helped me and Coach Tommy coach Ian's Blue Devils team. She timed her debut perfectly. Ian's team was full of second and third grade boys. They loved doing what second and third grade boys do: fly around at 100 MPH. Only sometimes and by chance did they fly in the airspace they were supposed to be flying in. Many days Katie recalled superpowers from her classroom teaching days just to keep us located anywhere near the line of scrimmage. Still, I loved coaching this team.
We lost the first 5 games we played. The truth is this team was stacked with a lot more fun than experienced and gifted athletes. How experienced and gifted can you really be in the second grade? One thing we did have after those 5 season opening defeats, though, maybe more than any other team out there, we had a deep craving for victory. So when we finally won our first game in week 6, and the boys celebrated like they'd just won Super Bowl LXIV, it was as rewarding as winning gets. Our record may only have been 1-5 after that early morning win, but those kids had long forgotten every agony tied to those 5 defeats.
We went on to win another one in our final game and closed the season with a thunderous shout of: BLUE DEVILS!!
With Elliott's Sooners team, the ride was a little different. This team was loaded with experience and some pretty talented football players. We fell behind 19-0 our first game of the season and came back to win. The next week we fell behind 22-0 only to come back and find victory once again. I told the boys after that game their coach is an old man with an aging heart that wouldn't handle many more victories in that fashion. So what did they do, they jumped out to a 30-0 lead the following week, only to get tied and have to fight for our lives to pull that one out in the second half.
From there the season was a downhill slide. We only won one game the rest of the season.
That didn't make this team any more disappointing to coach than the Blue Devils. These guys were full of highlight reel plays on offense, they were little pit bulls on defense, and they were smart. It amazed me how we could throw a new play or two in during our once a week 45 minute practices and every one of the boys would remember where they needed to be and what they needed to do several days later.
These guys weren't the Oklahoma Sooners, but every Saturday they let Coach Greg and I feel a little bit like Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops. And that was cool.
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