Oh, My Football

Part I
Relax they have Rules

The simple reason most moms don’t want their son to play football is they don’t want him to get hurt. Relax, he probably will and it probably won’t be serious. First of all let me explain an important difference to you about injuries. There is a big difference between being ‘hurt’ and being ‘injured’. If a player is hurt he has a sprain, a pull, a tweak of a muscle and he is expected to play and if he’s a real football player he plays. If he is injured he has a broken bone, ligement dammage or a concussion and in my program he will not play!
Want me to quote statistics? I can but the fact is if the chance of injury is one per cent and your son is the one it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. In my coaching career I’ve witnessed all sort of bumps, bruises, sprains, breaks and tears of feet, ankles, knees, arms, shoulders, spleens, kidneys and brains. Exactly zero of which have been catastrophic. So the odds, mom, are long that your son will be the one that is permanently injured on the football field. Might it happen? The answer is yes. Might your boy get in an automobile accident. The answer is yes. Does he want to drive? Of course he does and you let him. If he wants to play football, let him.

TESTOSTERONE: “A male steroid hormone produced in the testicles and responsible for the development of secondary sex characteristics.”

The first thing a mother has to understand is that the other mother, nature, or whomever is in charge of things like that put this hormone called testosterone into the male human body. What it really is, is the fuel for the male aggressiveness. Most women, except those trying to win Olympic medals, don’t have it. God wasn’t equal in what he/she put into Adam and Eve’s body, and I’m sorry about that Martha, but that decision was made by a higher authority than me and you’ll just have to accept the fact.
Back to the fuel. Somewhere during the early teenage years most boys get that rush from the testicles that affects his aggressiveness. It’s the reason he wants to beat the crap out of his older sister, so why not channel that aggression in other directions? Why not another more humane sport moms ask? The answer to that question is simple, football is a “Contact” sport. Some famous football coach took umbrage with “Contact” and said, “Dancing is a contact sport, Football is a “Collision” sport. Ok, either works and young boys crave crashing into one another, in the den, the front yard or the football field.
Not long ago my physical education class was playing “Dodge Ball”, now there is a Neanderthal game, and one of the teenage girls said to me, “Dodge ball is great because it gives boys a chance to act out their natural aggressiveness without getting thrown in jail.” She was right and all those administrators that outlawed the game in most PE classes in most school districts around our nation ought to heed her words. That young girl saw what many older educated folk don’t see or choose to ignore. The fact of life is the male sex is usually more aggressive and needs an outlet. Mom you need to accept that fact and then you need to be a supportive mother and allow your boy to channel his aggressiveness into a game that has rules of conduct that insure sanity will prevail. Then sit in the stands and root for your boy!

Like all games football has a set of standards called rules of the game. Let me list them for you and try to give you an explanation that makes good sense.

The game is made up of offensive plays called downs. The offensive team gets four downs to make ten yards. If they do it, in four downs or less they get another four downs to make another ten yards.

This represents the object of the game. Get the ball into the end zone and you have done your job. It is a ten-yard deep area located on each end of the hundred-yard field. Crossing the goal line into the end zone with the ball counts six points for that team.

The old gridiron, Ok football field is 100 yards long and 60 yards wide. Seventeen yards from the sideline is a “Hash Mark” and that is where the ball is put into play when the ball goes out of bounds with someone other than the ball boy carrying it.

The game is forty-eight minutes long at the high school level and divided into quarters lasting twelve minutes. Teams take a halftime break that usually lasts fifteen minutes. In both the college and the professional game the quarters are fifteen minutes long and makes the game a sixty-minute affair.
Each team is allotted three time outs per half and they do not carry over if not used in the first half. Unlike some games, you can’t stockpile time outs in football.
If the game ends in a tie score there is an overtime period, which is slightly different at every level, but the end result is the team with the most points at the end is the winner.
The game begins with one team kicking to the other. In the second half the kicking team will receive and the receiving team will kick. That is unless the team captains misunderstood their options and chose to kick instead of either receiving or defending a goal or deferring to the second half. Confusing? It can be for team captains as well as none of them are chosen for their grade in logic.
The clock runs during the play but is stopped when: the ball carrier goes out of bounds or scores a touchdown; a pass is incomplete; there is a penalty; when a time out is taken by either team; the official stops the clock to attend to an injured player; to measure for a first down; In both high school and college the clock is stopped after a first down.

The object of the game is to score more points than your opponent and not to see how many opposing players you can cripple. Some detractors would say the object of the game is for big, dumb athletic types to show off their man hood. They are partially correct. Actually it is an opportunity for athletes both bright and not so to display their skill in playing a game that requires determination, concentration, ability to throw, catch and kick a ball, self discipline, teamwork and an ability to take instructions with the understanding that they will be held accountable for their own actions. Sort of like life itself, in the real world outside of sport. It is a major reason why the majority of CEO’s, Business leaders and the movers and shakers of our world have a solid background in sport and many of them in football. Those timid soles who know neither victory nor defeat on the gridiron usually end up as college professors or some other inconsequential profession. Sorry if I offended any one of you pseudo intellectual liberals. This is America and I have a right to my opinion.


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