What is football?

Sep. 06, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

What is football?

I think that comedian Nicole Byers said it best on MTV's new show Girl Code. When asked what her thoughts were about sports she said, "What is football? What is it? There's running and there's tackling but what is it?"

I experienced this confusion over the weekend when I got the chance to watch my little brother, who really isn't so little anymore, play football. He played on his middle school team last year but their games were always on Wednesday afternoons, so it was impossible for me to make it to any of them. You can imagine my excitement when I heard that his team was playing some scrimmage games on Saturday.

When Eric started playing football last year as a 7th grader, it was a huge thing. Our family is all about baseball so football was a foreign concept. He was one of the small ones on the team and played during the fifth quarter, which is a special part of the game made for the 7th grade players.

Back then he hated it and talked about quitting. He didn't like getting hit by the big boys and wasn't pleased with the rigorous practices. Momma said that every time he came home from football he was in an awful mood. She was actually pretty happy about that because she never wanted him to play anyway. She was terrified that he would get hurt. But he made it through the season playing in the fifth quarter, his team won a lot of games and got back to his normal baseball routine.

This year was a different story. Since he is a big 8th grader now, much to my momma's dismay, he is actually excited about football. He is playing an outside linebacker position. Whatever that means.

One day I was talking to him on the phone and he told me how practice was going. He told me he got the first hit of the drill and the last hit of the drill. He didn't enjoy my response when I asked him if that meant he got a home-run. He quickly said "Erin you just don't understand!" and turned the phone back over to Momma.

Anyway this weekend his team played in the Randolph County Rumble, which was like a jamboree for middle school teams. We woke up early and headed to Randleman High School because his first game was at 10 a.m.

There were six middle school teams at the rumble and they played games on half of the field. Which made it even more confusing for those of us that don't know the rules. How can I cheer when I'm supposed to if there is cheering coming from both sides?

I was also amazed at the size of these 13-year-olds. There were some six footers out there. The thought of them hitting my little 117-pound brother is a scary one for sure. However, it was quite entertaining to watch him play a sport that you know nothing about. All I know is that he was moving and he was in on two tackles.

Everyone around us in the stands was pretty into it though. I guess they were real football people, while I was just giggling at how clueless my family is about the sport.

I just don't get it. Boys tackling each other to try to get the ball moved a little bit up the field. And there are so many different rules. There's also something called a conversion, what is that?

Andrew, my other brother, and I usually talk to him about his performance after baseball games. But after Saturday Andrew looked at Eric and said "Well Eric, I have nothing to say to you. All I know is that you played."

His team had their first real game on Wednesday. They lost 28 to 6 but I was told that Eric played in every quarter.

Although I don't understand football, I am a proud big sister when I hear that he is doing well. He also looks really cute in his little football uniform. I took some pictures on Saturday while he kept saying "Erin, stop you are embarrassing me!" I remember saying that many a time to Momma when I was that age. It's kind of fun to be the one who is doing the embarrassing now.

But I guess I have to start figuring out this football sport if Eric is going to play. I'm not sure if he is going to play in high school but you can't ever tell with him. So maybe I will attend some Rutherford County football games this year and try to figure out all of this running and tackling.