Forty Yards and a Cloud of Memories

I miss playing football. Watching it has never excited me...unless it's the '9er's in the Super Bowl. Flag football just isn't the same.

There's a certain feeling of invincibility you experience with a good set of pads on your shoulders. It's like being Superman, minus the heat vision. Staring through the facemask is like peering through the visor of a suit of armor. Most people that haven't done it wonder how one can see, but they don't realize that you actually see through it...Superman's X-Ray Vision. There's a comforting tightness to the pants with their thigh pads and knee pads. It's as if they hold in all the energy escaping your body and store it for you to use later. The sensation of lacing up is one you never forget and never quite experience again.

Memories of the field are a bit more fleeting. Like clips in an NFL film, only bits and pieces remain. Returning a punt 60 yards for a touchdown and the crestfallen weight upon seeing yellow on the grass. Nathan Roberson making one block that turned a 3 yard slant into a 70 yard touchdown. Joe Pett throwing JT Ball a hip fake on the three yard line and walking into the end zone. How Grant always managed to end up on the bottom of the pile with the funble in his hands. The tears in all our eyes, even Dad's, when we won the league championship.

In college, laying out for a ball everyone considered uncatchable and catching it...and the bruise from elbow to shoulder the next day. Covering the fastest guy on the team and not getting burned. At the RCA Dome, watching Tony Kohl knock the living crap out of a guy trying to catch a ball in the end zone. Kelly Ojalla, 6-2, 180, lighting up Stu Quaid, 5-5, 245, in practice. Nature runs. A jumble of game films composed into a highlight reel in my head.

I turn 30 this month. I haven't laced up since I was 18. It makes me sad.


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