The Worst Football Hit I Ever Experienced

If you had the pleasure of playing football with me, you know I wasn’t the top talent to ever go through Beardstown High School.  In fact, it seemed as though I got progressively worse as my experience grew.

I’m joking.

… Mostly.

I loved running the football.  Loved it.  Defense, though?  I didn’t care for defense a whole lot.  Initiating contact wasn’t really my thing.  More on that in a moment.

Honestly, I thought about getting hurt back then–a lot.  More specifically, I worried about breaking my neck.  I know now it’s pretty unlikely, but it happens in football more often than people think, and it sometimes even results in paralysis.  I knew I wasn’t great at football–not even good enough for a small college.  (Not that I had my sights on a small college).  The thought of permanently injuring myself for a sport that wasn’t going to take me very far … it always lurked in the back of my mind.

During my junior year, I broke a bone in my left hand while at practice.  I thought it was a sprain, so I kept playing on it.  My right hand is my dominant hand, so it wasn’t too bad.  Three months went by before I went to the doctor.  I thought it was a sprain–everyone thought it was a sprain.  Turned out a little tiny bone was broken kind of where the thumb attaches to the hand.  I had to wear a cast up to my shoulder for three months.  The same cast.  (I actually ran track with it on, which made it, well, a little smelly by the time our relationship ended.)  Needless to say, that was enough football for me.  I didn’t play my senior year.  There’s more to the story … but I won’t get into it here.

When I think about my old football days, one hit sticks out to me more than any other.  Keep in mind, I got tackled all the time.  I played second-string on varsity, so I had to practice against the first-string defense, which resulted in getting hit a lot.  The fact that one hit is as vivid today as the day it happened over twenty years ago is pretty astounding to me.

We were playing a game during the daytime on our home field.  I couldn’t begin to tell you who we contested.  I was playing secondary on defense.  Remember how much I liked defense?  I saw a running back break through the line and so, without even thinking, I rushed at him.  We hit helmet to helmet and both fell to the ground.  Everything went instantly quiet.  I didn’t have a ringing in my ears–just the opposite.  Everything went silent.  I popped right back up, and so did the other guy.  The whole thing lasted only a few seconds.  I looked over at my coaches and saw one of them, usually a pretty stoic guy, losing his mind and congratulating me on the hit.  The game continued.  I didn’t have a concussion or any other injury, but even in that moment the impact struck me as unnatural and it still does to this day.

I imagine that guys at the collegiate and professional level experience those kinds of hits literally all of the time.  I can’t even begin to fathom what that must be like.  More and more research is coming out connecting football collisions to brain damage, and let me tell you, that one hit I had scrambled my circuits for a moment or two, no doubt.  It’s probably one of the most violent blows I’ve ever experienced.

I wish I could tell you that I miss those glory days.

I don’t.

I love to watch football.  I love the sport.  I especially love the Chicago Bears.  But, I’m totally fine without playing tackle football ever again.  Even though it was my senior year and I’d played since seventh grade, I was relieved when I finally had the guts to give it up.  Isn’t that crazy?  I felt like it took more courage not to play.  I don’t begrudge anyone who lets their children play tackle football, but there’s no way in hell I’d let my son play the sport–if I had a son, that is.  That single time I got my bell rung told me all I personally needed to know.

I don’t think of myself as a wimp, but maybe you do after reading this.  If that’s the case, that’s fine.  I’ve been called a lot worse, trust me.  But take it easy on those families who don’t let their kids play football.  Give those boys who don’t want to play a break.  There’s nothing wrong with trying to avoid injury.  Some might say it’s even smart to try to preserve your health if it doesn’t seem as though a professional career awaits in the future.

Below is a picture taken by Ralph Sabetti for the Beardstown newspaper.  My mom kept a scrapbook of all my childhood and teenage doings.  She gave it to me a few years ago.  I’m running the ball with pure joy in my heart.  I’d like to tell you that I broke the tackle that guy is about to put on me and ran for a touchdown, but I honestly don’t remember.

I’m guessing not.

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 (Did you enjoy this article?  Check out Scott William Foley’s short stories HERE!)

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Best NFL Day Of the Year

If you love NFL football, it doesn’t get any better than today.  In fact, I think today will probably be better than Super Bowl Sunday.

If you don’t follow the NFL, a rare thing happened–the actual four best teams are left playing for their conference championships.  The winners of these two games will then go on to compete in the Super Bowl.  Even though I’m a die-hard Bears fan and would love it if they were still playing, I think it’s great that the four clubs with the best records and/or the best overall teams are playing today.  Yes, I know the Patriots didn’t have one of the best records, but they are the most successful franchise of this century–I think we all knew they’d make it this far despite their wins and losses.

So, even if you’re not a huge football fan, today will be well worth your while.  You will see some truly magnificent offense and defense on display.  You’ll see the incredible defense and creative offense of the LA Rams.  You’ll see the superhuman twenty-three-year-old Kansas City Chiefs quarterback named Patrick Mahomes.  And, of course, you’ll witness the masters of their craft–Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints and Tom Brady of the New England Patriots.

Let’s not forget that the Chiefs, Saints, and Patriots have some of the best coaches in the history of the game–respectively Andy Reid, Sean Payton, and Bill Belichick.  And the Rams coach?  His name is Sean McVay, he’s only thirty-two-years-old, and he’s considered an offensive genius.

Each of these teams are highly skilled and deserve to be playing for the Super Bowl.  There aren’t any silly Wild Card entries who made it in due to a weak division and freak occurrence.  Today will be about as good as it gets.

Oh, and, of course, I’m obligated to offer my picks for the day.  Though I love the Chiefs and Andy Reid’s coaching, I think the experience of both Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will prove too much for them.  Give Patrick Mahomes another year or two and he’ll know how to win these huge playoff games with Reid’s guidance.  Same goes for the Saints and the Rams.  I think all the battles Brees and Payton have fought together will ultimately win the day for them.  So, to be clear, I’m picking the Patriots and the Saints for the Super Bowl.

Just to be especially bold, I’ll go ahead and pick my Super Bowl winner, too.  I believe Brees and Brady will nullify each other, as will Belichick and Payton.  It’s going to come down to defense and special teams, and, in my opinion, the Saints are better at those two things.  So, I’m picking the Saints to win it all.

But I’m hoping it will be the Bears next season.

Enjoy the games!

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(Did you enjoy this article?  Check out Scott William Foley’s short stories HERE!)

Grin and Bear It

I had zero expectations for the Chicago Bears before the season started.  We have Green Bay and Minnesota in our division, after all, and those two teams are pretty good.  Then, right before the season started, we picked up Khalil Mack.  I honestly didn’t know who he was before we got him, but it sounded like he would be an impact player.  People suddenly began to whisper that, you know, maybe the Bears could do something.

I didn’t get my hopes up.

But then I watched that first game with Green Bay, and even though we lost, wow, I became a believer right then and there.  Between our intense defense, the refreshed offense, and Nagy’s general leadership, we seemed like a totally different team.  A confident team.  A capable team.  A championship team.

We had some silly losses along the way, but I truly believed we’d make it through a round or two in the playoffs.

Well, that didn’t happen.  I’m not getting into the double doink fiasco.  It still seems statistically impossible, but that’s football.  For better or for worse, football always finds a way to surprise you.

I have no idea if we’ll be as good next season.  It seems like we should be, but things can change quickly in the NFL.  Every team is just an injury away from having their hopes dashed.  Our powerhouse defense will certainly have to adjust now that Vic Fangio has left to coach Denver.

Whatever happens, I want to thank the Bears for giving me great happiness this season.  Their fire, competitiveness, and athleticism were a joy to behold.  Thank you for making NFL football fun again, Chicago!

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(Did you enjoy this article?  Check out Scott William Foley’s short stories HERE!)

5 Quotes That Prove I’m In an Unhealthy Relationship With Jay Cutler

  • “People just don’t understand him.”
  • “He’s under a lot of pressure.”
  • “He may not show it, but he really does care.”
  • “He’s got so much potential, he just needs time to find himself.”
  • “It’s going to be different this time.”

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(Did you enjoy this article?  Check out Scott William Foley’s short stories HERE!)

 

Looking For a Short Story About Football?

Looking for a short story about football before the big game?

Check out “Why We Won” by yours truly.  Here’s the synopsis …

“After five years of winning football state championships, a quarterback laces up for his last game. He and his team are brothers, and they know how much rides on each and every game. For them, winning is very much a matter of life or death.”

Click HERE to read!

 

Ready For Football? Check Out This Short Story – “Why We Won”

I love football, and I love to write short stories.  Why not blend the two?  A while back, I did just that.  Now that football season is upon us, I’d like to remind you that “Why We Won” is available for download to your Kindle for ninety-nine cents.

Though very short, I’ve been told that it punches the reader in the gut by story’s end.

Here’s what it’s about: After five years of winning football state championships, a quarterback laces up for his last game. He and his team are brothers, and they know how much rides on each and every game. For them, winning is very much a matter of life or death.

Read it now by clicking HERE.

“Why We Won” – A Short Story

Since football playoffs are now in full swing, I thought this an opportune time to share my short story, “Why We Won,” for the very first time.  It is available through the Amazon Kindle for only $00.99.

What is it about, you ask?  After five years of winning football state championships, a quarterback laces up for his last game. He and his team are brothers, and they know how much rides on each and every game. For them, winning is very much a matter of life and death.

I do hope you’ll give it a read.  Do so by clicking the link:

http://www.amazon.com/Why-Won-Scott-William-Foley-ebook/dp/B00GI9RBA4/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1383880702&sr=8-2&keywords=why+we+won