Tuesday, May 03, 2005

my favorite football player

the beach bum
I've always been very fond of watching football. Perhaps because I was too small and slow to play. Perhaps because my Dad & I watched it & enjoyed it together. Or maybe I'm just a redneck.

Anyway, there are many I've enjoyed watching over the years: Bart Starr & Joe Namath & Deacon Jones as a kid. Then, Johnny Musso--the original Italian stallion, and Robin Parkhouse and John Croyle & Woodrow Lowe from the early 70s vintage Crimson Tide. Major Ogilvie, Jim Bob Harris, Ozzie Newsome, Rich Wingo, Marty Lyons, & Bob Baumhower from the late 70s vintage Crimson Tide. Then the great ones I saw in person: E.J. Junior, Kerry Goode, Cornelius Bennett, Derrick Thomas, Mike Shula (yeah, that Mike Shula), Al "L.A." Bell...so many others from the 80s model Crimson Tide.

There are those from other schools too: Emmit Smith from FL (saw his first start), James Singleton & Louis Lipps from USM, Eli Manning from Ole Miss, so many others....

But then there's my all-time favorite player. He's one of the big guys up front. He appears to really enjoy a crunching block as much as some enjoy catching a pass or running the ball. He's a team leader. Hard worker in the weight room, soft-spoken guy, devastatingly funny sense of humor, high moral character...but Lord have mercy on the one who talks trash while lined up opposite him!

He's a very handsome fellow too. Leaders are frequently like that.

He's young. In fact, he's still in high school, for one more year. Today, I saw him play in a scrimmage on a college football field. He destroyed a linebacker with THE key block for his team on a come-from-behind touchdown. They won. Characteristic of many team leaders, he didn't think he did all that well. Oh, he did concede that he made a few good plays. There was the one on defense in which he destroyed a guard and stuffed the running back with the blocker. He wears #75. Only one other guy has worn that number at their school. That guy is now a cadet at the Air Force Academy. #75 has come to signify high moral character on that team.

Many of the guys mentioned above were/are bigger than my favorite player. All of them have played one or even two levels higher than my favorite. I've sought autographs from a number of them.

But my favorite football player gave me the coolest thing and the highest honor I know. His arrival on this planet changed my life forever. He gave me a new title: Dad. He bears my name. He is my son. I would rather watch him in a scrimmage as I did today, than watch my beloved Crimson Tide play for a national championship (done this live) or watch the Packers play in a Super Bowl (haven't done this yet).

I love you, #75! Press on, and finish well, buddy! I am proud to be your Tatusz!

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