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A grandmother and football: Mixing up signals

My family laughs and tells me I am covering the news.

I tell them I didn’t know I was doing that; I thought I was writing because someone was willing to read it.

So, as a grandmother, this is how I look at football, and here’s the way I would report it.

This time of the year, our family talks football — before the game, during the game and after the game, before meals, during meals and after meals. As soon as we get home, the video goes into the computer and we watch the game again and again and again.

So, as a grandmother; --, to be in the know of the game, not yelling at the wrong time, clapping for the other team and embarrassing the family, I needed to learn more about the game of football.

My son-in-law sat me down and gave me a quick course on plays and how a football game works.

It’s about signals. When the quarterback gets his numbers all mixed up, it is to fool the opponent, not to show a poor education. It’s a secret signal to our players.

For anyone who is not an avid football fan, it is more than a bunch of guys running at each other with mean faces and oversized shoulder pads, wearing short shirts hiked up around an overlapping middle and tight pants. It is not throwing other players down and throwing around a ball; or the worst possible thing — being carried off the field on a gurney.

No, no, no, this is serious business. This is the only business in town for the next three months. Especially for this family.

So, I need to know my stuff.

There is a method to all of this madness, I was told. This year is a running game, not a throwing game. They are not running the shotgun, but the quarterback is under center and the line has changed. There are new plays. Just as well: I didn’t know the plays last year. I don’t have to unlearn anything.

The player is told, “Run your route.” This means run to where you are suppose to, don’t stop and look around for the ball, the ball will be there when you get there. Don’t look until you get there. In my mind, I wondered when he would finally look around.

So, if the player is running like he is afraid and trying to get away from the other team and doesn’t know where the ball is, not to worry. The one with the ball knows where he is if he runs his route.

If the receivers are fast, the quarterback will take it into consideration and will throw it further down the field than if the receiver is a slower runner. It is a science, “ball traveling the speed of the player.”

That’s news to me. I thought the quarterback threw it as far as he could.

As I understand, there are four coaches. There’s the head coach, who is looking over the whole game. He knows where his players are. There is the defense and the offense coaches who run their part of the game. Then, up high at the top of the bleachers, is a coach with earphones looking down over the whole game with an aerial advantage, kind of like God. He will signal where and what the players are doing and what the other team players are not doing.

I can relate to that!

We have two, extra-large grandsons who play on the line. Apparently there is no glory on the line, except for those who know they played their position right, pulling down their man, making a hole for the running back and keeping the quarterback safe.

No, the players on the line will probably never carry the ball. As a grandmother, I think they should at least touch the ball once in a while, just to get a feel of it. But apparently it is not necessary.

As I understand it, the boys love their new coach. He is more concerned about them than the game. The boys know how much he loves them, and they will play their hearts out for him. That’s a successful coach in my book. Come win or lose.

The coach is aware of how much energy and time the parents put into getting the boys to practice, picking them up after practice and going to all the games. No matter the price of gas, at $3.65 or more, they fill up their tanks and drive over Wolf Creek, or to Four Corners, or wherever.

My kids tell me that I write it as I see it, not how it really is. As a result, I am reporting what warms a grandmother’s heart above everything else.

As I understand it, the head coach is from the old school. After the game, the coach tells the players, go and tell your parents and grandparents, “Thank you for coming.”

So, these sweaty boys stink and all come and hug my neck and say, “Thank you, Grandma.”

And I say, “Oh, that’s the sweetest thing I could every want to hear.”

When he was in the eighth grade, our youngest grandson asked me to wear his jersey. I wore it proudly.

I said then, “It won’t be long until he won’t be asking me, but some young girl.”

Yes, catch those moments with all your heart, they don’t last long. You might notice, I’m not wearing No. 72 this year.

Maybe this grandmother doesn’t know all the plays or the rules, and maybe she gets her signals wrong, but this I know: These boys are learning respect for their fellow players, for their coaches, for their parents and grandparents.

Football is more than getting the glory; the players are learning about character and aspiring to be men.

Coach Garrison is the man of the hour and I say,“Thank you.”

Am I trying to brown nose?

No.

Does that mean that my grandsons get to carry the ball?

No.

Does it mean they get any favors?

No.

It does mean I’m getting back a couple of grandsons who are learning how to be men. What more could I ask?

The final brushstroke: You might get your signals mixed up, but the heart knows what the heart knows.

Artist’s quote

“A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.” — Ayn Rand.

Comments

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Send them to bettyslade@centurytel.net. Update on my book, “The Mysterious Life of Mary Magdalene “ — it is finished, off to the editor and it should be ready in the next month.

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