Every Friday at Messiah College where I attend, my friends and I play a pickup football game. Just 20 or so of us, a football, an empty field, and a couple of hours to kill. There's always a different group of people who play, depending on schedules and all. However, I have realized that no matter where and when you play, you will normally see the same types of people. These are some of the players you see at every pickup game.
The kid who just wants to throw long every play. I hate this kid. He's normally got a cannon arm, but he insists on throwing the ball long every single play. 4th and 1, he's throwing the ball 70 yards down field into triple coverage rather than hitting the wide-open kid five feet in front of him for a first down.
The big guy. You know this kid. He's 50 pounds heavier than anyone else on the field. He plays on the offensive and defensive line. He's the guy who will get the ball on every goal-line carry and drag six guys into the end zone for the score.
The injury kid. Every single game he gets hurt. Whether it's a sprained pinky finger, pulled muscle, or bruised forearm. It's never any injury you can visibly see, and everyone knows he's faking. He'll spend most of the game watching from the sidelines with a grimace on his face, trying to cope with the excruciating pain.
The tough guy. The opposite of the injury kid. He's the kid who plays the whole game, catches two touchdowns and gives it his all every down. Then afterwards you find out he has a broken wrist or separated shoulder. The next week, he's there again, his arm wrapped up in a sling, but he's not missing a game.
The pick-up running back. This kid never played football in high school, but he's an incredible athlete and could have been All-State if he had. He turns a five-yard screen pass into an 80-yard highlight reel touchdown, breaking five tackles on the way. He ends the game with six touchdowns and you do everything you can to make sure he's on your team the next week.
The talker. All he does is talk. The entire game. And not only does he annoy the other team, but his own team normally hates him because he can't back up his talk on the field. He'll lead both teams in dropped passes, but it's not his fault– it's the quarterback's. Or the offensive line's. Or the bright sun that got in his eyes.
The all-time QB. He insists on being quarterback for his team, sometimes for both teams. He's often not that bad of a passer, but he doesn't let anyone else have a chance at quarterback, and you know you could do better than him. So you suggest to him that he pitch to you and you throw a halfback pass, but he says no because he wants to throw every down. Often this kid won't play defense because he doesn't want to have to tackle anyone.
The high school starter. This kid played/plays in high school. He thinks he's hot stuff because he knows how to play the game better than anyone else. He spends most of the game telling you what you're doing wrong.
The kid who just wants to play. I love having this kid on my team. Think Rudy Ruettiger from Rudy. Any position you need, he'll play. He blocks, catches, runs, whatever helps the team. He's not afraid to tackle or take a big hit across the middle. He leaves the field with the dirtiest uniform there. And most of the time his team wins.
The player-coach. This kid is always yelling out who should cover who, where the pass will be going, and to watch the screen pass across the middle. He's normally right with his predictions but sometimes he gets on your nerves because he never makes any plays himself.
The kid who doesn't want to get hit. His main goal is just to not get hit. He won't admit it, but he will do whatever it takes not to get hit. If he catches a pass, he'll run out of bounds. If he has to go across the middle for a pass, he'll dive and leave his feet so he gets touched down immediately. If he takes a kickoff, he'll lateral immediately and pretend to block someone.
The I-got-it kid. He screams, “I got it!” for a towering kickoff that he has no chance of catching. Everyone tells him to move out of the way and let it bounce, but he tries to make a spectacular catch and fumbles it away.
The kid who just blends in. You don't realize he's there all game. He doesn't catch a pass on offense or make a tackle on defense. Afterwards, you don't remember what team he was on.
The showboater. This kid just wants to make the highlight plays. He leaves his feet to try and make the spectacular catches. And on defense, all he wants to do is lay the big hit on you. And afterwards, he brags about his nine touchdowns, when you're pretty sure he didn't score more than one or two.
The kid who was open every play. At least that's what he thinks. Every play, he runs back to the quarterback and wants to know why he didn't get a pass when he was wide open. So he finally gets a pass and then he drops it.
The offensive coordinator. He comes up to you with this whole elaborate play, some sort of double wide receiver reverse option pass that backfires because no one runs the right routes. It ends up getting picked off and returned for a touchdown, and then he blames you for not making sure everyone did what they were supposed to do.
The “best” player. This kid thinks he's the best player on the field and his mere presence on the field is enough to simply will his team to victory. He normally doesn't get many touches, but you can just tell by the way that he carries himself that he thinks he's the man. He plays safety so he doesn't have to cover anyone one-on-one, and after every play he asks you why you didn't make that tackle. You wonder to yourself, "Why didn't YOU make that tackle?"
The overmatched kid. He can't cover his man, so he fakes an injury. This way, when he gets burned for three long touchdowns, it's not his fault, because he's hurt. Otherwise, he would have picked off all three passes and ran them all back for scores.
The knockdown kid. This kid is so annoying. You're warming up with a friend, just throwing the ball back and forth, when he comes in out of nowhere and knocks it down in an attempt to make an amazing interception. He does this over and over again. Then in the game, he drops every pass right to him.
The if-only kid. The kid who would be good... if only. If only he had the right cleats. If only we were using his football. If only he had his receiver gloves. Meanwhile, you forgot your cleats, but you don't spend the entire game complaining about it.