Hello, One thing I have noticed, is that, like a fine wine, I’m getting better with age. Most people are like that. Well, maybe not most people, just athletes. Like me.
I’m becoming better at football than I was over a half century ago. I don’t play fantasy football. But I could. I don’t bet on football games. But I could. I sit in my recliner and know what the coach should call. Never mind that as a 155-pound offensive lineman in high school, I didn’t call many plays.
This dawned on me yesterday as I was hauling a load of cattle down the highway listening to the Vikings game. They had a fourth and three inches. Really! Fourth down and three inches! And they punted the ball. They punted the ball! You pay guys millions of dollars and you don’t think they can go three inches! They lost. They deserved to lose. Never bet on the Vikings. I quit listening after the punt.
Later that afternoon, I was talking to an old, close friend. He was the quarterback on our nine-man football team. We were outstanding. We won nearly half our games. Which for us was really good.
As we visited I expressed my disappointment to him about the Vikings. I told him how I could have made three inches. He reminded me of how slow I was. He reminded me that I was the slowest guy on a very slow team. He reminded me that sometimes we punted on third down because we couldn’t make any yardage. I remembered. That hurt. That really hurt. But actually, punting on third down isn’t as bad as punting on fourth and three inches.
But basketball was my sport I reminded him. I shouldn’t have. He has a better memory than I. He reminded me of our basketball team. I was the sixth man on a pretty dang good ball team. We won many more than we lost.
I would go in when Ralph got in foul trouble. Which was usually mid second quarter. I was the slowest guy on the team, but I could rebound pretty good if the other team was real short.
After I had been super sub for several games, the coach determined I should start. He shouldn’t have. We had won like 14 in a row. A school record.
I forget where we were, but early in the game I pulled a rebound off the rim. Well, maybe not that high. But I got the rebound and started to dribble down the court. A guy that was super fast, or at least faster than me, came from behind and stole the ball. We lost the game.
The coach said I would never start again. Which was fine with me. Less pressure.
But for the rest of the year, every rebound I got, I could hear the coach stand and scream, “Meyer! Don’t dribble that ball!”
That hurt. That really hurt.
Dean Meyer is a former state legislator and currently ranches in southwest North Dakota. He has been a featured columnist around the state for many years.