Wednesday Night Lights

Wednesday Night LightsIt was every football dad’s dream last night. It was beautiful.

Less than a minute on the clock, time running, down by 6 and the ball’s on the other team’s 35. My son the halfback comes out of the huddle and lines up at tight end. The tight end lines up at halfback. I whisper excitedly to my wife, “James is lined up as a receiver!” I’ve seen it in practice, so I’m excited.

The ball is snapped to the quarterback, who’s filling in for our injured starter. The offensive line collapses almost immediately under the pressure of a defense that heavily outweighs it, and has had several more weeks of practice. (Our team only got started two weeks ago.)

The quarterback pitches to the stand-in halfback, who’s rolling right as hard as he can to get away from the sea of maroon that is the Redskins Defense.

My son has ditched his coverage with a fake that left the defender’s jock strap lying in the grass. The ball is launched high, to clear the wall of pain that is about to descend on the halfback. In my line of sight, the ball sails in front of the lights that illuminate the field. It comes down behind a sprinting James, who stretches a long arm and tips, corals, bobbles, and finally pulls in the ball at a dead run on a corner fly.

Hot pursuit to the goal line, James’ wheels turning like a bootlegger running from the smokies. Three defenders block our view as they head directly away from us to the far corner. His blue striped helmet pops into view once, as he jukes hard once and loses one.

He beats the other two in the footrace and scores.

Amongst the screaming, I hear my daughter’s voice. “That’s my little brother!” she’s yelling. I’m on my ass cheering as best I can (in excruciating pain) because my legs gave out. (It’s not been a good week for me, after having tried to stand in for a defense at practice last week – the kids need me so I do stupid things like try to pretend I’m a defensive lineman with a few of the other dads. My heart goes out to them, they can’t even practice against a defense with that few kids. Big heart – small brain – broken body. Not good.)

Unfortunately, that was just the end of the first half. The second half showed some of the weaknesses of a team with only two weeks’ practice, and we lost 27 – 6.

I was proud of the Panthers, though. They fought their guts out to the final whistle, not once showing even the slightest tendency to quit. They battled the fatigue, field lights that randomly went out, lack of practice, and a Redskins team that had a deeper bench. The Panthers had 14 kids dressed, and with 11 on the field that doesn’t give anybody much of a rest. Their starting quarterback injured his back playing a game the other night for the middle school squad. They’re smaller by far than the other teams in the league, have little practice equipment, a brand new coach that stepped in late because the coach who was supposed to return decided not to and one could not be found immediately and the league didn’t really seem to give that any type of priority.

But they fought hard, and they were not shut out.

James’ best friend is the Redskins’ quarterback. James had a bet with his friend’s dad that he would sack his buddy at least once (James plays defensive end, as well). He’ll be collecting on that bet today, by the way.

He hadn’t played organized football for five years. When he wanted to play this year, we thought it would be good for him to work out some of his energy, and motivate him to keep up with his homework. With a team that small in number, he knows they can’t afford to lose anyone. I think we were right on both counts. Not a peep of problems thus far, and he’s loving it. He’d sleep in his pads if we let him.

The suckiest part is that we forgot to take the camera and the camcorder. All I’ve got are camera phone pics.

My son plays ball for the Jacksonville Onslow Football League Panthers. They’ve got serious heart, and I am proud of them all.

12 Responses to “Wednesday Night Lights”

  1. ...solipsubmissive... Says:

    That’s soooo cool!

    (Because, as anyone who reads me knows…i ADORE football.)

    elise

  2. WhoreChurch Says:

    Lou,

    Congratulate James for me. Take some pain meds and have sweet dreams of a future college star.

  3. Lou FCD Says:

    James says thanks to you both. (James was actually reading this and saw your comment before I did, Kevin. “Who’s that church guy? He’s cool.”)

    We are huge fans here, elise, and it’s great to be actually involved. There are only four teams in this little league, they play on an 80 yard field because that’s as big as they can make it (it’s a baseball field on private property of some random guy), lots of James’ school friends play on all of the teams, and I love it so far.

    Except the pain part. That’s not so good, but I’m willing to be a tackle dummy – I mean defensive lineman – whenever I can.

    I’m still cripped up from last week, so I spent tonight’s practice with my ass in my beach chair where it belongs.

    Now I’m going to take Kevin’s advice. James wants to go to Marshall to play because it’s a few blocks from the hospital where he was born, and that’s where I went to college.

    I’m dreaming of The Thundering Herd, baby.

    WE ARE…

  4. WhoreChurch Says:

    Hey James and Lou,

    I know a couple of kids who hung out with us all through HS who go to Marshall.

    Plus, how many colleges have their own movie?

  5. WhoreChurch Says:

    Oh, and James is obviously a great judge of character.

  6. Diana Says:

    PENN STATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Yeah baby, that’s right!

    Football, are you sure he can handle that or is he crying too much and needs his sister to step in?!! KIDDING I’m glad to hear that he’s involved in anything. Sports is probably the best thing for him. And who can’t route for the Panthers, that’s the mascot for my high school stomping grounds. I just hope he’s not wiped from having to play 10 different positions. We wish him luck and fun no matter what the outcome! : )

  7. Lou FCD Says:

    Obviously, Kevin. 🙂

    Diana, I wouldn’t be upset even one little bit if he got a full ride to State (Penn or NC), or any other big-time Uni for that matter (as long as it isn’t one of those retarded fundy “universities”).

    Oh, and don’t worry y’all, when he’s a multi-jabillionaire NFL star, I’ll still remember my blogging buddies, but I’ll probably move to my own .com domain. You’ll have to update your bookmarks, and I’ll probably be blogging seaside from my mansion in some island country in the Caribbean. Other than that, my life wouldn’t change.

    😆

  8. ...solipsubmissive... Says:

    so. Marshall. Way cool. Any excuse to drool over Matthew McConau – oh hell, i don’t feel like looking up his last name – AND watch a football movie is cool in my book.

    Penn State should kick some Michigan ass tomorrow, about which i have mixed feelings, since when their coach gets fired, my beloved LSU Tigers may well lose Les Miles who is AMAZING…

    and…AND…

    my daughter’s high school team just beat the #3 team in the state, so i got to sit on the bleachers and proudly lead her Varsity squad in cheering for the most awesome week(end) — kept the “week” in there for James, who rocks — because i tomorrow the poor little Gamecocks are going to get BLACKENED in Baton Rouge.

    *prim look* okay. i’ll get back to obsessing about sex again now.

    elise

  9. Lou FCD Says:

    Marshall rocks, elise. I loved my time there. I happened to be there in the mid nineties, so I saw Chad Pennington and Randy Moss do up some defenses in a brand new stadium (once they got the water fiasco fixed).

    I enjoyed the academics (being older, I had a much less stressful and more successful outlook than the kids in my classes), enjoyed my work (I managed and tended bar just across 3rd avenue from the stadium and campus), enjoyed the other students (in the biblical sense – I was in between my two marriages to my wife) and generally just enjoyed life there.

    Congrats to your daughter and her team. That’s quite a W right there!

    James has another game tomorrow because Wednesday’s game was actually a make-up. Last Saturday’s game was postponed due to weather.

    It’s an early AM game, so that means I’ll miss the US Women’s Soccer team playing England, which I was looking forward to. I’ll get over that, though.

    I’m really looking forward to the game tomorrow. The team’s working hard to pull things together and make adjustments. James has been moved to TE on offense and ILB on defense. Our starting QB is out for two or three more games, but the backup is getting the hang of it. The O line is doing better as well at keeping the Dads out of the backfield, so that’ll help out a lot.

    I’ll go back to obsessing about sex after the game tomorrow.

  10. ...solipsubmissive... Says:

    ooo…soccer talk is also cool with me. i played on a state championship team in high school and coached my son’s team a couple seasons.

    i’m loving the football/sports chat. Sometimes i wonder if i’m a real girl. my Tigers beat the Gamecocks quite nicely today, even with a rather daunting injury in Early Doucet. i had to sneak peaks at game updates on my cell phone, because i was stuck at a cheerleading competition — my daughter’s squad won quite handily, beating the squad from the school whose football team we knocked out of 3rd place in state the night before. Another reason for the sneaking was that i was actually IN Gamecock country. Most of the people sitting around me were giving me baleful looks at my gleeful mini-celebrations every time LSU scored.

    All in all, it’s been a good weekend round he-yah. Keep us posted on James. i’m diggin’ it.

    elise

  11. Lou FCD Says:

    Heh, I was flipping between that game and (I think) the Penn State game. (It’s been a few days, I can’t be expected to remember which games were on when.) The fake field goal was pretty sweet.

    Congrats to the cheerleading squad. Nice to hit the double whammy like that.

    James did pretty well on Saturday. This Saturday, we have the Raiders, the well funded, well supported, perennially dominating team of the league. We’d love to knock them off this weekend.

  12. Lou FCD Says:

    I’m really pissed about the American coach’s decision regarding the keeper in yesterday’s game. You just don’t go pulling a hot keeper in the middle of the world cup.

    Plus, with a name like “Hope Solo”, how can you lose? Stan Lee couldn’t have given her that name!


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