|A Football Player
Between the innocence of boyhood and the dignity of man, we find a sturdy creature called a football player. Football players come in assorted weights, heights, jersey colors and numbers, but all football players have the same creed: "To play every second of every minute of every period of every game to the best of their ability."
Football players are found everywhere - underneath, on top of, running around, jumping over, passing by, twisting from or driving through the enemy. Teammates rib them, officials penalize them, students cheer them, kid brothers idolize them, coaches criticize them and mothers worry about them. A football player is courage in cleats, hope in a helmet, pride in pads and the best of young manhood in moleskins.
When your team is ahead, the young man is awesome, talented, breathtaking, gifted, tough, smart and committed. When your team is behind, a football player is incompetent, careless, lazy, uncoordinated and stupid. Just when your team threatens to turn the tide of battle, he misses a block, fumbles the ball, drops a pass, jumps offside, falls down, runs the wrong way or completely forgets his assignment.
A football player eats like Notre Dame but more often than not, plays like Grand Canyon High. To an opponent’s publicity man, he has the speed of a gazelle, the strength of an ox, the size of an elephant, the cunning of a fox, the agility of an adagio dancer, the quickness of a cat and the ability of Red Grange, Joe Montana, Bronko Nagurski and Jim Thorpe- combined.
To his own coach, he has, for press purposes, the stability of mush, the fleetness of a snail, the mentality of a mule and is held together by adhesive tape.
A football player likes game films, practice sessions without pads, hot showers, long runs, whirlpool baths, recovered fumbles and the quiet satisfaction which comes from being part of a perfectly executed play. He is not much for wind sprints.
A football player is a wonderful creature. You can criticize him, but you can’t discourage him. You can defeat his team but you can’t make him quit. You can get him out of a game, but you can’t get him out of football. He is judged not for his race, not for his religion, not for his social standing, not for his finances, but by the democratic yardstick of how well he blocks, tackles, runs, catches and sacrifices individual glory for the overall success of his team.
He is a hard working, dedicated, untiring, determined kid doing the best he can. And if you ever come out of a stadium grousing that your team has lost, he can make you feel mighty ashamed with just two sincerely spoken words - "We tried!"