I was an odd duckling growing up. I guess that makes sense when I was born in California and lived there until I was 6, then moved to New York and lived there until I was 8. Then moved to South Dakota until I was 18. That kind of cultural yanking can make a person kind of strange. My high school was terrible at football and semi-decent at basketball. And I was tall. So I never really got into football. Like the rest of the country (I mean Texas and the rest of the south). And on top of that both of the college/universities I went to didn’t have football teams. So why am I writing about football at all?
Because I just got accepted to be on the local 3rd grade team. I mean my son did. And last night I was invited to watch a college football game. So, which one of these amazing institutions are better? Let’s have them meet at the 50 yard line, shake hands, and present their cases.
College football: There are 100,000 capacity stadiums, crazy dedicated fans, and highly trained athletes that don’t get paid for their work. They do however, get a scholarship to go to 4 years of school mostly for free. And access to some pretty good facilities.
3rd Grade Football: There are 100 capacity sidelines, crazy dedicated parents, and poorly coached, highly fundamentally flawed, little chicken legged, pads that are bigger than most of their whole bodies, 8 and 9 years old running around like chickens with their heads cut off, whose parents get to pay for $200, plus uniforms, and a documentary film fee to get a filmmaker to film their every play so they can someday be featured on NFL films? And they have access to some pretty good junior high fields for practice.
College football: Entertainment is through the roof (because they have a retractable one) and drama because they have close games, intense rivalries and some pretty big incentives (bowl games, chance at the NFL) at stake.
3rd Grade Football: Entertainment is through the roof (because they have the big roof called the sky) and drama because they have really close games (like that one time the score was 36-7) some intense rivalries with other schools (and some rivalries between which parents can be most intense about their kids missing a block or tackle) and some pretty big incentives (like the oranges at halftime or the Gatorade at the end of the game).
College football: 3 hours of big hits, great passes, amazing catches, fine tuned execution, quick cuts, and powerful runs.
3rd Grade football: 1 and 1/2 hours of pattycake hits, overthrown passes, demazingly missed catches, fine tuned deexecution, slow cuts, 40 yard runs with multiple missed tackles, and overwhelmingly sized helmets and pads.
So who wins the intense rivalry between the college athlete and the 3rd grader? Who finds the way into the bitter hearts of America and maybe even a few other people in the world? Who is worthy of our taking up all that time on Saturday to get off our couches?
Bitter Football Saturday Ben