Archive for May, 2017

Give the ball to Norton

It’s true what they say about the benefits of joining sports teams in general. You learn a lot of life lessons not necessarily having anything to do with the sport you’re involved with.

Just for the hell of it, my junior year in high school I decided to go out for football. I hadn’t played in a couple of years and sort of missed being on a team and the fun of Friday nights. I guess I didn’t want to let all of my high school years go by without joining in on something besides golf.

I was a 5’7″, 145# junior who practiced with the linemen, mostly at center because that’s the position I played in middle school. You can see the problem here already. If I’d had any wheels at all, I would have entertained receiver or tight end, but such was not the case. I was slow as hell, and still am.

In mid August we reported for “daily doubles” which was 2 a day workouts that definitely tested your mettle. Since I was practicing with the centers, I was privy to a life lesson that summer which has stayed with me and I think relates to the current political environment.

One hot sunny afternoon we were working out with centers, quarterbacks and receivers on some basic routes for the receivers. Varsity and JV practiced together early on as they don’t split up the teams until it gets closer to the start of the season. There were about 4 or 5 centers who rotated hiking the ball to a few guys vying for the starting quarterback job, and a line of receivers on both sides ready to run routes.

We had 2 seniors competing for the starting center job at the time. I won’t mention their names because it’s not important to the story, but if I recall correctly, they were pretty close in size and ability, so it was going to be a close call for the coaches on who gets the starting nod.

It was probably the coaching staff’s fault a little bit for not making it clear what the depth chart was at the center position, but I remember an incident where the coaches yelled out “line up by the depth chart” at each position for some receiving route reps. Both seniors thought they were the #1 center so a fairly ugly scene ensued where they fought over the ball for a couple of minutes while the rest of us looked on in disbelief. One guy grabbed the ball and inserted himself at the front of the line and the other guy snatched the ball from him and shoved him back. This repeated a couple of times while the coaches grew impatient with the situation because it broke the rules about being a team player and good sportsmanship.

In a rather stunning move, the coach blew the whistle and sent both seniors to the back of the line, and handed the 3rd string guy, Rob Norton, a junior in my class the ball. He never relinquished the ball for the rest of the season. He was the starter from that point on.

I’m reminded of this as I watch the toxic, hostile environment between Republicans and Democrats today. The unwillingness to compromise on anything.

I write frequently about my disdain for the Republican agenda and I feel strongly about it. At the same time, I see Democrats as the other senior in this fight. Participating in the toxic nature of partisan politics and too far out of touch with what has historically been the party of the working man. They lost the working man this time for not paying enough attention to jobs.

The current battle over classified leaks, obstruction of justice, pathological lying and programs to reward the wealthy makes me sick. But I’m tired of the fighting and I do not root for the Nancy Pelosi wing of the Democratic party to gain ground in this fight.

No, I’m on board with a youth movement. Let’s give the ball to Norton. You two clowns get to the back of the line.

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