Around Christmastime, as per tradition, I played in an annual football game comprised of a dedicated core of kids that fully acknowledge that they aren’t kids anymore. We gather at a football field that seems to always be water-logged from a rainstorm or first snow storm and tear up the field so much our tracks can be seen well into spring. About a week ago, the game footage was uploaded onto YouTube. Excellent! I can watch myself play a sport. I bet I looked great, right? Well, if I did, I would have linked the video. Here are a couple things I learned about myself after watching footage of a massive pick-up football game.
Watching yourself on film is the same thing as hearing a recording of your voice. I’ve never watched myself run. My parents didn’t film my cross-country and track meets and I could never get someone to set up a camera for me. I kind of always pictured me running with grace but rugged intensity. In my mind, I am pumping my arms with the vigor of Usain Bolt, my legs extended as if the entire floor was lava and I was trying to get across it with as little steps as possible, essentially galloping. When I watched the video, I wondered what weirdo ran with his arms flailing like he was swimming instead of running, and whose legs were moving like a cartoon character winding up to run, and then I realized that weirdo was me. Now in my defense, the ground was very slippery and I didn’t want to fall and give up a big play. But if that was the case, why was no one else running like that?
In about three weeks, Big Chiller Bowl IV will kick off. Every year it has been played, I made it a personal rule to try and be involved in every play, no matter how little. If a play was nowhere near me, I would make sure to try to get in to offer any help I can. After rewatching BCB III, I realized that my involvement in some plays was less actual help and more along the lines of a hall monitor long after a fight was broken up. The play would be over; the ball carrier down, handing the ball to one of the referees (yes, we have referees) and in would come yours truly in my gross, still-stained from BCB II Penn State hoodie and sweat pants that don’t come down to my ankles, trotting through like “what’d I miss?” When lining up on defense I bend my knees with the half-heartedness of a person who knows and has accepted that they’re constipated.
Just be yourself. Everything everyone does is goofy to some extent. But if you don’t believe me, have an hour to kill, and want to watch my team clobber the other team 80-0, the link is here. I am wearing a white AE hoodie, gray sweatpants, and a black hat.