Fuller’s been practicing football for about a month. And today we head off to find a rural high school field to meet our first real opponents. Soon after the game our family will be roadtripping down to Auburn so Damon and Fuller can watch Auburn whoop up on Arkansas State.
We had to explain to Fuller what a tune-up game is. Fortunately we were able to use a real life example- last week Fuller had a kind of tune-up game. Except when you are 5 years old and barely know how to play the game, it is called a jamboree.
Last Saturday we spent the early afternoon in the heat watching 5 and 6 year olds play 2 twelve minute quarters against other 5 year olds who also barely know how to play the game. In a jamboree, you get to see all the other opponents strut their stuff and let them see if you have any stuff to strut. It was only on half the field, but it was enough turf to see that watching 5 and 6 year olds play football is the most confusing thing to watch.
Apparently Fuller was so nervous excited that he started to cry before the game. (Yes, let the search engine gods cache that so if Fuller plays college ball, some intern at ESPN can google it and see that Crumley, #73 cried before the first time he took the field. But it was because he was excited and nervous all at the same time. It was a good cry.)
A while back, the coach asked Damon if he would be an assistant coach, because the 5 and 6 year olds are allowed 4 coaches- 2 on the field to use the kids as chess pieces and 2 on the side lines for crowd control. Damon had already been helping at practices with the crowd control thing, so he said sure. So, we had two Crumleys on the sidelines.
The league has the “everybody who in uniform must play” rule. So I was poised with the camera to get Fuller’s first steps into his first game.
Eventually the game started to sort itself out and even though we had kids offsides, other kids facemasking, and other kids running to the wrong huddle, somehow this happened.
Damon’s commentary on Fuller’s performance was that Fuller seemed to be getting it, trying to do his lineman duty and push back the other players. Even if the other players were bigger than him. Sure, Fuller fell down a lot, but he got back up and did it all again.
After the 2 twelve minute quarters were up, we had won by three touchdowns. And then came Fuller’s favorite part- lining up and telling the other players “good game, good game.”
After this game was over, they all got back on the field (the other side this time) and played 2 more quarters against another team. It was hot and the boys were already tired, so they didn’t make it out with a W, but I think they learned a lot. And now, after another week of practice, they seem to be ready to take the field again.