Thursday, December 20, 2012

Pivotal Events in My Life #1

Looking back over my life, there have been events that have been a significant influence on my future, even though I didn't know it at the time.   Here are a couple from my sports experience:

  • Knocked over coach in football tryouts.  I had been a lineman during my first two years of playing football.   During the third season of tryouts, one coach challenged the players in a blocking match.  He offered a quarter (a lot of money to a 10 year old in the 60s) to any player who could knock him over.   Of course, none of the players expected to do it since we all were under 100 pounds, the league weight limit.   Somehow, I must have caught the coach off balance and knocked him over backwards, which surprised everyone including the coach.   After the tryout, he gave me a quarter.

    He later drafted me for his team, saying, "I had to get something back for my quarter."   Two things happened that year that changed my future for football.   First, I was the middle front lineman on the kickoff receiving team.   Our job was to block and fall on any football that came to us.   During one game, the ball was kicked to me.   Instead of falling on it, I picked it up, started running, and didn't stop until I was in the endzone.  My first touchdown, and my only kickoff touchdown.

    Later that year, the coach converted me from a lineman to a running back.

  • Ran a 4.9 forty in high school football tryouts.   Today, that is not such a fast time, but it was in the 70s.   It was also fast enough for the coaches to put me on the Varsity football team as a freshman and as a running back.  

    Of course, I was relegated to special teams, for kickoffs.  I was also the third string fullback and didn't expect to see any action.   However, during our first game, which we lost 47-6, the coach pulled both the first and second string fullback and put me in.  I lasted a few plays before I had the wind knocked out of me and left the game.   I guess I impressed the coach enough to become the starting fullback for the second half of the next couple games.   Back then freshmen didn't play on Varsity teams very much and the coach still wasn't sure about me.

    By the middle of the season, I became the first string fullback, scoring all the touchdowns in our team's first win.   In my senior year, our team was the State Champion for our class. 
  • Although I did play football in college, my career ended with graduation since I definitely wasn't even close to pro material.   However, I enjoyed playing and I credit the above pivotal events for my football experience turning out the way it did.

    For more on Crossing Generations, check back every Thursday Friday for a new segment.

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