Thursday, October 18, 2007

Standing Still

A.J.’s flag football team, the Browns, is heading into the playoffs with a three-game winning streak. There are times now when they look like an actual football team, which is an achievement for a bunch of six-year-olds. Still, I remain mostly convinced that football and first-graders really don’t mix. The biggest problem is just getting them to stand still. You know, in football, you’re supposed to get into your formation at the line of scrimmage, get set and stay set until the ball is snapped. That doesn’t happen a lot in our league. At yesterday’s practice, for example, M. kept trying to stand on his head while he was supposed to be lining up at right tackle. We tried to explain to him that this was against the rules of football, and when he kept at it, we even tried to threaten him with pushups. But that stuff doesn’t work. To most six-year-olds, push-ups seem like a lot more fun than having your coaches tell you to line up and stand still. There have been times this year when M. standing on his head, or C. whipping his mouth-guard at everyone in sight, or D. picking handfuls of grass and dumping them on N.’s head would have gotten to me. I know I’ve come home from some practices feeling like I was about to develop a nervous twitch like Inspector Dreyfus from the Pink Panther movies. But maybe I’m getting better at this coaching thing. I’ve learned a lot in the two and a half months I’ve spent helping to coach this team, and the most lasting lesson has to be this: If your right tackle wants to stand on his head at the line of scrimmage, and your right tackle is six years old, there’s not a whole lot you can do about it.

Go Browns.

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