Backyard Football

Posted: September 5, 2011 by Micah in Sports

I have a lot of sports memories. I’ve played in colleges, overseas, in huge stadiums, and abandoned parking garages. I’ve had more jerseys and warm ups then I can even vaguely recall and even (believe it or not) autographed a couple soccer balls (now available for 1 cent on e-bay). All that stuff though has one thing in common: it doesn’t matter. Like at all. Ever. Cause as soon as someone starts a sentence with “well when I played soccer…” it is a universally accepted fact that everyone else will stop listening. And I’m okay with that really. The past only has so much meaning and most of that meaning only means something to me (pause: say that five times fast).

However, as I look back over my sporting past you want to know one of the things that jumps out at me first? My career as an NFL quarterback. Thousands of fans screaming around me as I dropped back to pass, my wide receiver perfectly running his route, juking past his defender, and turning just in time to snag my pass out of the air, tuck it into his chest, and sprint madly for the end zone!

Now I should clarify a couple things here: The “end zone” was a big block of cement that covered a power grid (or something… now that I think about it I really don’t know what that block of cement was there for… probably something to do with the zombie apocalypse). The “defender” was a baby tree my dad had planted that wasn’t so much an obstacle as it was something we were not ever ever allowed to touch (note: I ran over it with my mom’s mini-van shortly thereafter. Of course let the record show that the little tree I ran over eventually grew up stronger and taller then all the other little trees my dad planted. The moral of this story could be that the best way to strength is through adversity or something like that but the real moral is: I am awesome.). More important then all that though was my wide receiver: my little brother Weslee.

Me and Weslee at a post game conference.

When I went to college I did a horrible horrible thing to my little brother: left him out manned. Literally. For a majority of his childhood Wes lived with three girls, all older then him, all avid fans of flicks for chicks, and all really good cooks… okay so that last one is actually a good thing but still… I mean there were three of them!

And so, my tiny soul ridden with guilt, whenever I managed to get home while at school I would make it a point to do manly things with my brother. Manly things like punching stuff, kicking stuff, eating stuff, and stuffing… stuff. Like turkeys… turkey stuffing… that’s manly right?

One of our favorite games was backyard football. Wes would snap the ball to me. I’d drop back. Wes would run his route. Throw. Catch. Repeat… A lot. To keep it from getting monotonous though certain rules were added.

Occasionally the quarterback would get sacked. This meant that I would drop back act like I was going to throw the ball then violently hurl myself into the air, through several elaborate spins, and finally land on the ground with a theatrical grunt. It was always a devastating experience for all involved.

Secondly, while most football routes involve things like “run out four yards, then cut left across the field” or “take four steps out, then button hole and run for the zone” our routes tended to be more complex. Things like “Run out four steps, duck, dive left, spin around twice, then turn towards me and catch the ball!” or “Roll on the ground four times, then jump up, run out five yards, juke, and I’ll throw you the ball.”

And finally, I was narrating the entire thing. Leading to plays that sounded a lot like this.

“Micah takes the snap and drops back to pass. Wes runs out drops, oh and he shook a defender, he’s rolled away, he’s up, he’s dodged, he’s open! The pass!! TOUCHDOWN!!!! The patriots win! The patriots win!” Cue dancing. Cue music. Cue mine and Weslee’s legendary victory dance. Was it weird? Yes. Was it immature? Yes. Would I trade those memories for anything? Nope.

Of course we didn’t just limit our selves to football. No, those back yard games also featured baseball playoffs, light saber wielding, and full contact badminton (the net got broken in a totally-not-my-fault sort of incident so we were left to our own devices as far as “rules” went).

The set up wasn’t perfect though: I mean how many football games have you been to that were put on hold due to a baby on the field? Or wide receivers that dropped passes due to: live chicken infringement? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Later on, Wes and I were able to demonstrate our skills at the annual Christmas football game.

Still back yard football was only semi about football anyway. It was mostly about Weslee. About spending time just being guys, being brothers. It’s been a while since I made it home. I expect next time I do it there’ll be less rolling in the dirt and more playing x-box but the principle still applies. Cause the thing with family is it’s not really about what you do. I don’t care whether your family plays football, or Yahtzee, or ring-around-the-platypus. The point is: they’re your family.

So if the most I can say about my pro football career is that I could perfectly hit a receiver four feet away from me as he came out of a ninja roll… well… I’m good with that.

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