Last Saturday my buddies and I got together for our weekly game of pick-up football. No pads. No refs. Nobody getting fined for hitting the QB in the head. This is the good ‘ol backyard meets prison yard stuff. It’s a little bit more violent version of what you see Bret Favre play in a Wrangler jeans commercial. (Although if you wear jeans to our games you are just asking to get a cleat to the crotch.)
The thing that made this day different, however, was the five high school senior rugby players that decided to come join in. These mini Muscle and Fitness magazine cover boys ran our butts up and down the field. Not only did they break tackles and outran most of us, but they also had a lovely tendency to pitch the ball more than Steve Nash while driving the lane. And their strategy was almost flawless against our confused and slightly frightened D-fence.
After the game the rugby boys began to jaw about how any rugby team could destroy any football team at their own game. I did not agree with this steroid-lisped assumption but it did make me ponder for a moment. What if, by some crazy law or black hole in the universe or Dateline NBC special, all Athletes could only play football?
Imagine putting 4 UFC heavyweights on the D-line. Think about Yao Ming at tight end, stepping over the defender and just standing with his arms up in the end zone until the ball was airmailed to him. Jimmy Rollins could run a safety blitz and slide under the blocker feet first only to pop right up and hit the QB. Or putting in LeBron at running back on 4th and goal so that he can jump over the entire D-line while doing a back flip, and somehow still managing to make $130,000 in promotions all in one play. Tiger Woods could get in the mix as long as he was playing in a Buccaneers, Redskins, Cardinals, or Chiefs home jersey on Sundays. And who wouldn’t love to see David Beckham kick an onside kick so hard that it bounces off the receiving team and into the arms of the offense? If you had Shaq run QB sneaks where he just fell forward and extended the ball, you could consistently pick up 3 yards per play. And A-Rod . . . Well I’m sure someone can afford $252m for a quality water boy.