T1 is playing in a 7-on-7 “top gun” passing league, very high speed, very competitive, geared towards preparation for high school. This basically means he has passed out of the realm of me being much use to him from a coaching standpoint. T2 is playing in a 5-on-5 “rec” league, which means the emphasis is on fun and learning. I am once again acting as an assistant coach. Essentially, I am still a much better athlete than all of the eight year olds on T2’s team but probably wouldn’t start on T1’s.
In a pleasant turn of events, the head coach of T2’s team is our next door neighbor, Chris. Chris’s son R has been mentioned in this blog before. He’s T2’s friend and my rival for C’s affection. He’s actually only in 1st grade but chose to play up a division because he wanted to be on T2’s team.
“Guess who is on your team?” C asked T2.
“Well, if you had to pick a friend who most fits into the ‘little brother’ category, who would it be?”
T2 thought for a second, “R?”
“Cool,” he said. “I hope he is okay with me being quarterback.”
The team itself consists of ten kids, half of whom, it turns out, live in our neighborhood. A full third of the team lives on our street. Half of them have never played football before which makes the league’s new policy of only allowing practice to be held for the hour before games problematic. We play on Saturday and have basically 50 minutes to teach half our team the rules. Plays in the first game seem like an impossible goal.
We had a team meeting and I was pleasantly surprised that every kid and their parents showed up. The kids all introduced themselves and talked about what other things they like to do (it was mostly soccer and video games). Chris and I went over how the league is structured, talked about the importance for getting there early for practice and emphasized that we were going to focus on fun. As it turns out, that might not be an issue.
The last thing we did was, collectively, chose a team name. We had told the kids to come up with suggestions in advance. Every player got to throw their potential name in the ring and then we voted on them.
It started off normally.
“The Spartans,” the first player suggested. Teams always take the name of pro or college teams. The Spartans was par for the course.
“The Scotty Dogs,” said R, throwing out a name that he and T2 had previously decided was cool for reasons no one else understood.
“The Unicorns,” said the next player. A little weird, but he meant it in a “cool horse with a giant horn” way and not a “My Little Pony” way.
T2 was next. I knew what was coming.
“The Fire Breathing Rubber Duckies,” he suggested. There was a split second pause and then every future Vernon Davis sitting cross-legged on the floor of a meeting room in the library went bug-eyed and laughed. The flood gates were opened.
“The Diaper Babies,” the next kid said.
“My Brother’s Feet,” said the kid after that.
“Running Away” was next, prompting Chris to observe, “These names sound more like garage bands than football teams.”
“Bacon Planet,” was the final suggestion.
On Saturday, the Patriots will be playing Bacon Planet.