I have a question for all of you reading this column, and that is how many of you have been watching a sporting event on tv or if your lucky enough to be in the stand at a game for the sake of this story, I will be using football. So how many times have you been screaming at the football coach or the players because they made the wrong call, did not catch the pass or make that interception so needed for your team to win the game in question.
I have know been writing about football for about five years and to tell you the truth, I have been thinking the exact same thing in my head while I am sitting in the press box at the Staple Center or freezing my butt off while covering a high school football team.
Why is it that we always think that we can do it so much better then the people on the field who tried out and or who gets paid four times as much as I do to cover the games?
I used to go to Santa Monica College as a student, football reporter and even as part of the staff and I would say I have a pretty good relationship with the coaching staff so good that the defensive line coach had asked me a handful of times to actually join the team instead of writing about them as a member of the media.
So a few weeks ago now I was talking to some friends and co-workers to see what they thought about me letting go of the pen and notebook and actually going out to play defensive line for the college? Some thought it was a great idea because I had gained a few extra pounds and I needed to lose it.
The big thing is that I had not picked up a weight or run more then a very slow mile in about 6 some years and I was not sure if I was in good enough shape to even think about making the team. But I tried anyways and the day after the fall semester started, I walked into the defensive lines coach’s office and asked him if he was serious about me trying out for the team.
I was sent to the head coach who told me to get my butt to practice and that is what I did but what I did not think about was my lack of training, exercise or that I have been smoking cigarettes for the last 10 years and that worked out well enough to let me play three years of high school. Football, but this was college and on the first day they made us work out hard and my body was screaming for help. Just so I can make a very long story on my experience trying to play college football, my body hurt all over the place from my arms to my legs that was moving and shaking like if my legs where made of gelatin. During my first week of practice I believe I puked twice and sometimes ran the end of my supposed run the pace of a turtle instead of a rabbit. It was bad and people told me to stick a fork in it, because I was done.
The thing is I did not want to quit the team before the end of week two and that was the running of the 220 yards full speed 4 times and that was when my body was like No No No its time to call it a night and after puking a little without actually puking I was forced to walk over to the defensive line coach and say I can’t do it and all he could do was laugh.
That’s when I knew that my career playing any kind of football at any level higher then high school was out of the question at this time. I do believe if I had trained for a few weeks prior to joining the team I could have lasted longer then I did and if they had started practice of slower then what they did my body could have gotten used to the exercise. But none of the above happened and I was forced to write this story on how I moved from being a Monday Morning Quarterback sitting in the press box to being down on the field.
Just remember that its easy to scream at someone from 50-100 yards away, but it’s a lot harder to actually go out and give it a try. But don’t think that this two weeks has scarred me away from trying to make the team again next season or since I am writing about the Los Angeles Avengers of the Arena Football league, maybe I will see in a few months if I have what it takes to stand with the Avengers.