It was the summer of 1986, and I was a ruddy-faced doofus about to enter high school.
For most of my previous 13 years, I had played soccer with the town youth league. I was awful, and I despised every second, so playing in high school was never an option. But I had to play something. My high school frowned upon laziness; after-school sport participation was mandatory, except for those involved in theater. I had never acted, nor did I intend to start. I mean, the theater was for dorks, right?
With soccer out of the question, I needed a new sport. A family friend suggested I try out for the football team. Football? I came from a family that lacked any understanding of- or enthusiasm for sports. There were no game days at our house. There were no jerseys, no pennants, no posters, no mugs nor affiliation with any professional team. Football was a strange and bewildering thing, like cricket or a bidet. My friends all followed it. They knew all the rules. They mostly liked the Dallas Cowboys, which was weird, since we lived in Connecticut. I was lost when they talked football on Mondays.
Me play football?
It was crazy.
It was absurd.
It was utterly nonsensical.
But I saw no other choice.
I mean, what the hell else was I going to do? Act in a play with the other drama weenies? Bwahahahaha!
So I joined the Loomis Chaffee junior varsity football team. Figuring I’d grow, I allowed myself to be placed on the defensive line. For those unfamiliar with the sport, the offensive and defensive line are where the corn-fed slabs of human beef play. I was 5′ 9″ and 165 pounds – hardly the menacing figure required for the job. But I’d grow into the position, right? (spoiler alert: I didn’t).
That year, Loomis had a killer varsity team – one of the best in recent memory. Because of the talent at the top, many otherwise varsity-level players got kicked down to junior varsity. And one in particular was not happy about. His name was Chuck, and he was my nightmare. Day in and day out, Chuck vented his frustration on we lowly freshman noobs. Day in and day out, he hit me with the full force of his fury. I spent as much time sprawled out on my back, staring cross-eyed into the sky as I did on my feet. But instead of gazing up at trees and clouds, my field of vision was filled with Chuck’s helmet, cold eyes boring into me from its depths, wavy blond hair spilling out from the back.
If my daily practices were filled with pain, exhaustion and horror, game day was my sweet respite. Why? Was game day when all my hard work and suffering paid off in a monumental performance against our foes? Good heavens, no! I was awful. The bench was my rightful place, and the bench was where I sat. But after the game, if we played an away game, we would stop at McDonald’s, and I’d get to eat a Quarter Pounder with Cheese, large fries and a chocolate milk shake. Ahhhh, it almost made the beatings worthwhile. Almost.
I played football for three years, even making the varsity team my junior year. But I never grew, and and never really improved. I played football because I thought I had to.
And then I discovered acting (who said acting was for dorks and weenies??), and that was when everything changed. Football was cast aside like a used tissue. Why would I spend another minute getting beaten like a rented mule when I could stand on stage and make people laugh? The choice was easy.
But time is a lens that grows warmer and rosier with each passing year. We tend to forget the bad and only remember the good. So when I look back on my football “career,” I don’t see Chuck’s face glaring down at me, I see a perfect fall day, with leaves falling from the trees, against an infinite blue sky. I remember our varsity defensive coach, Mr. Estes (who was also the school’s chaplain), telling us to take a knee while he led us in a prayer thanking God for the chance to be alive and healthy and outside on that fine autumn day. I remember our junior varsity defensive coach, Mr. Joffray, and his beloved beagle, Jordie. Jordie spent each practice snoring by Mr. Joffray’s side. He would twitch and whimper from time to time, and Mr. Joffray would tell us that Jordie was chasing squirrels in his dreams. Joff was a gentle giant, always smiling and always tolerant of my abysmal skills. I remember how good I felt at the end of each practice, as I walked, helmet in hand, back to the locker room to take a shower. I wasn’t a good football player – not by a long shot – but that was okay, because I still felt proud that I had made it through another practice.
So I offer these vintage football patent art printables not for love of the game. No, I couldn’t even tell you who’s in the playoffs this year, or even if the playoffs have started. I offer them from a place of nostalgia, when life was simpler, and the game was simpler, too.
There was nothing more than football. No nine-figure salaries. No scandals. No Twitter wars.
Just a group of guys playing their guts out each week under a perfect autumn sky.
I have designed today’s offerings in 3 colors and to fit into a 16×20 inch frame or a 24×36 poster frame, though you may scale them up or down as necessary. 24×36 inch scales down easily to 20×30 / 16×24 / 12×18 / 8×12 / 4×6 inches, and 16×20 inch scales down to 12×15 / 8×10 / 4×5 inches with no problems. Also if you don’t have a large format printer like Canon i8720 Printer (prints up to 13×19 inches) and are wondering the best place to get these large printable printed, we recommend trying Staples in your area or Amazon print shop. Both stores offer custom-sized prints on matte or glossy paper and they both. Staples also offer Engineering Prints which are pretty affordable for large size format prints.
Okay, enough of my blathering. Click on the button below to download the printables you’d like! They are under the “Patent Art” section of The VIP Patch.
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If you like large printable wall art, click on the picture below to see our free printable oversize book page art.
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