Bitter Rivalry of the Week: College Football vs. 3rd Grade Football


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.Β  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.

Big time college hit.

Big time college hit.

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.

Big time 3rd Grade drill. (I'm a big fan of the lay down drill.)

Big time 3rd Grade drill. (I’m a big fan of the lay down drill.)

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


85 thoughts on “Bitter Rivalry of the Week: College Football vs. 3rd Grade Football

  1. Pingback: GOLDMINE

  2. I grew up in New England….so I’m a crazed Pats fan, but I’ve never seen anything like the High School and College football love that takes place here in Texas. It’s quite intense.
    I’d prefer to watch the 3rd graders. πŸ™‚
    Shared in my Posts of Note.


  3. Pingback: Posts of Note – Week 22 – A Kinder Way

  4. Being a young gypsy myself in the state of football crazed Texas was a handicap. Every team I had the misfortune to play on was the newest coach. The players no one knew or wanted to take a chance on. All in a brutal Darwinian culture of winning at all cost. My last game was where my possible lifelong dedication to the pain was destroyed. Yes I have a body for football. Interior lineman. A less glamorous or desired position can’t be found in Pee Wee football.
    Goal line stand. Playing Nose guard. Got into the gap before the pulling tackle. Four yard loss in the backfield. Number turned to the announcer. Linebacker falls in me. His number called. Peeled off the cheap forearm pads after game. Bruises already showing. Done. No more.
    Downside. Treated like outcast by peers. Nothing new there.
    Upside. At 53 there are isn’t the daily pain of old football injuries to shoulders, knees or head.
    Hurt my knee playing soccer. Don’t run. No worries. That what bikes are for.
    Keep being Bitter. Right there with ya. Cheers.


    • Yep. My son has a body for football, I had a body for basketball. And a love for it. But I played too long (til 39) and I’m paying for every game and practice and pick up game I ever played. Bad shoulder, back, and knees. All for the love of a game that I played way too long.


      • Mind, yes you can.
        Body, you want me to do What?
        Mind. No worries its all good.
        Body next morning. Told ya so. But wold you listen? NOOO.
        Wife. Told you not to. The look.
        You. Where’s the aspirin and ice pack.

        Something along those lines. Just remember chicks dig scars.


  5. I was born in Oregon, moved to Arizona until I was 2, then moved to Minnesota for a very short time, then moved back to Oregon until I was 12, when we turned around and moved back to Minnesota until I was 28, when I moved to Texas. And at 32, I may decide to move again. I wonder if moving at a young age makes it harder to identify your actual home? Also, because of this I enjoy the Seahawk, Vikings,and Texans, along with the Badgers, Gophers and Longhorns. I figure if you have enough teams to root for, you’re bound for one of them to win in the week, right? I remember being in soccer from the 3rd through the 5th grade. My favorite part was the Rice Krispie Bar and Capri Sun at the end.


    • I was similar. I was born in California until 6, New York until I was 8, then moved to South Dakota until I was 18. Went to school in Idaho, on a mission for two years to Utah(where I served in 8 different areas), back to Idaho to finish up junior college, back to Utah to finish school, moved to Washington for 15 years, and just moved back to Utah. I guess with the long and windy roads we take, it is hard to establish who we actually identify with. And if you asked me my hometown? Not sure what to tell you.


  6. Apparently everyone was watching football and didn’t have a chance to answer — yet. I’m guessing third-grade football wins — or whatever sport our children are playing — because we actually do have to GO to the game, no matter the weather or location. College football is available via the couch. (Although I personally sat in the rain last night to watch our university team BARELY scrape out a win against a lowly opponent, when we were supposed to win by a 37-point margin. I bitterly discarded my poncho and left the game at the beginning of the fourth quarter, thinking my absence could very well give the team a better chance at winning. I was right.) Watch your children — bitterly or not — while you can. This too shall pass (even if they don’t actually pass the football successfully).


  7. 3rd grade football for the win. Every time. They’re small which makes for lots o’ lols and you don’t want to vandalize their dorm rooms when they make the entire school look bad *cough Christian Hackenberg for the past 3 years cough cough*


  8. I could really relate to this comparison – our kids played in 3rd and 5th grade – and whew, the coaches seemed to be only focused on promoting their own child (not all – but most) and many had such a lust for fame and I felt bad for the kids.
    anyhow, still smiling at the humor here – well done.


      • I hear ya. On our team, the many coaches also seemed to a little divided – or just not open. For example, the final game was coming and during a practice, they were told that another team was scouting and watching practice. Can you believe that – well it is true – another little league team actually came to scout and peek. However, the coaches – even though very nice and awesome to work with – for the most part – they did not listen and kept the same plays. The team lost bad that coming game and if they just would have changed the plays up it would have helped.
        anyhow, like I said before – such a good post.


        • It’s just funny how any kind of football is treated like the pro’s and college because the sport is so lucrative now. I almost half expect scouts to be showing up at 3rd grade games to see if there are any potential kids they can start wooing.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Yes – it is off with many sports – and thankfully our two boys only played one season – they went to lacrosse and soccer after the early grid iron year – and in hindsight i am glad they chose other sports – have a nice day B


        • Yeah, we will just see how it plays out with my son. He was just complaining about being tired and sore today. Maybe someone will discourage him and I can just be there to help him into basketball, where the real glory is.


        • My spouse would agree with you on the basketball – and my youngest boy has had some decent success with high school basketball and the reason he had his best year was because the coach that year was neutral and objectively placed kids – so my son played point guard and thrived – but the previous coach had a son on the team –

          Anyhow – basketball does rock – and hope your son stays safe and enjoys the season – I recall the games being long (not as fast moving as soccer or basketball)

          Anyhow – looking forward to looking around your blog


        • It’s weird that you mention that because I didn’t really like basketball when the coach had a son on the team, but as soon as the coach was neutral, I started liking it. I does rock and I loved playing. I just shouldn’t have played it so long. I’m still paying for it with a bad back, bad shoulder, bad knees. Oh well, I can still watch the pros play.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Ha – my husband just turned a corner with his playing – had a foot injury take a while to heal (last year) and came back on the court realizing middle age had officially set in – he still shoots and plays at the gym – but no longer does the weekly pick up games.
          and neutral coaches – who know how to encourage – make the difference big time. and side note – not to brag – but I am a really good youth soccer coach – like kindergarten to 5th – it is one of my speciality areas – keep the parents happy – grow as a team and motivate those little ones to be the best and encourage them legitimately through their sport – by having them grow in compassion to their level at the time (as opposed to the star at that time) and I miss it – (my kids are older and my career has changed) anyhow – if youth coaches would just get this more – that talent is nurtured and that the biggest stars on the team might be the shy kid who has not played that much yet – or it might be the other kid who is not your son…


        • Well, maybe we need to have you coach our kid so he gets a fair shake.
          I remember being in your husband’s position too. Just at the cusp of knowing I needed to hang up the sneakers, but not quite ready to give it up. Til one day, we had a game, and I was the only one to show up, so we forfeited and I basically officially announced my retirement to myself and to everyone else when I talked to them.

          Liked by 1 person

        • well regarding the coaches your son does have – remember that your child will get more from the coaches (usually) when they know the parent is active and supportive. Now the tricky parties that too active can cause problems – I know this first hand with my son’s preschool teacher – I, um, might have come across too strongly when I checked on things. So I found my way – to be involved (and present that accountability) while also really having favor with those in charge.

          and then not he other side of that – as a coach and teacher – I was always unbiased and loving to all – and could work with high energy and emotional kids – and so really good at all that – – but guess what?

          sometimes I found myself doing things for the kids who had very active parents. For example, as an art teacher – if I had extra copies of certain sheets or art works- I put them int he art journals of the parents that actually commented on reading the art journals. and then with sports – when one dad said he wanted his kid to know the actual plays – I went out of my way to show him things not he clipboard. Just little things like that happened and I took mental note because I knew it had to do with the active rapport between parents and myself.

          ahhhh – these social relationships are tough anytime – but all the more with some of these highly competitive “kiddie” sports


        • Good advice. Although I do want my kid to succeed at sports, I don’t ever want him to get a big head, or be impolite or disrespect his coaches or other players. Especially because he is only in 3rd grade. At this point I just want him to learn to have fun, get in shape, and learn all the good things from sports. If it ever turns something different, then I will talk to him about it and make sure he is doing it for the right reasons. I just despise the coaches that take it way too seriously and verbally abuse the kids, etc. They are still kids after all.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Well said Ben – and I think I still wrestle with the difference between confidence and cockiness – sometimes humility is not always shrinking – and in sports we have the pushy ones who are cocky -‘but sometimes we have confident players who really do need to be a squeaky wheel to help promote their talent – oh it is tough!
          And sounds like you have good goals for your 3rd grader – and maybe one day he will read this post (because as I am sure you know – these here blogs or ours become a bit of a life scrapbook) and maybe later he will read a few posts and remember his elementary years – and then also see more of his dad (things he can’t fully see now) 😊


        • Well, he knows how I feel about him, but it would be nice for him to read some of the things I think about him. And yeah, this blog is fun to look back at and see how it has changed over the years. And to realize how some posts I did were really good and I wonder how I ended up writing this or that.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. Your bitter heart is with your son, Ben. I know it. College football is not an option for you when your son is running up and down a grassy field.

    I can only speak a few words about college football, which is this: Go Wisconsin Badgers! Go! Thank you for not making my Saturday bitter.


  10. Kiss your couch and college football goodbye, coach. Looks like you’ll be spending all your Saturdays telling attention-deficit kids what to do, while refereeing fights between parents.


  11. Well, you forget that if you miss your kid’s 3rd grade football game, opting instead to sit on the couch and watch college football, you might be shunned by the entirety of your child’s school…but then again, you probably already are…


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