Saturday, December 23, 2006

A Tale of Physiology & Football

With the college football bowl season in full swing, it hearkens me back to my pigskin glory days. Ah yes, the roar of the crowd, the parties after the game and any cheerleader I wanted...Oh wait, excuse me. Those must have been someone else's glory days -- I didn't play college football (I earned my varsity letter on the college Bowling Team) nor did I play high school or even junior high school football.

In fact, the only time I played quasi-official football was on my 5th & 6th grade YMCA flag football team. I played the center position. The quarterback was always several yards behind the line of scrimmage -- shotgun formation.

Every play had the same script. I'd look back between my legs trying to figure out how far I had to hike the dumb ball. The quarterback would call out his cadence and, if I happened to remember the snap count correctly, I'd hike the ball at the appropriate time. After snapping the ball, the defensive lineman across from me would give me a big push and I'd land on my keester. While on the ground, I'd stick my legs out hoping to trip a defender or two rushing to kill the quarterback (who I didn't like anyway).

You see, in YMCA flag football, the officials rarely called any penalties. As an offensive lineman, about the ONLY way you'd get called for a penalty is if you tackled someone on the defense, you pulled his hair or bit him! Holding or tripping your adversary was par for the course. And I was a darn good tripper!

While I didn't play on my junior high team, I did go out for it. I soon learned that, in this league, the officials frowned mightily on holding and tripping. I was going to have to learn to block people with proper techniques.

Since I was a robust lad, I stayed on the offensive line, but fortunately was moved to the guard position. This meant that I no longer had to have my head between my legs on every offensive play. I thought this was a good deal.

However, I soon learned that I wasn't cut out for football. You see, according to our gruff line coach, the proper way to block someone was to give them a right uppercut around the Adam's apple and then, while they gasped for air, push 'em down on the ground and maybe stomp on them.

In drills, the coach was constantly in my face because I wasn't employing his chosen technique. "What the hell is wrong with you, Smith?" he would scream. "You got make your opponent hurt!"

And you see, that was my problem. I was okay with blocking someone, but I had no interest whatsoever in consciously hurting anybody. Needless to say, my peaceful sentiments didn't sit well with the coach nor with most of my teammates. I soon after left the football team and became a soccer goalie (we won the city championship, though no thanks to me).

Nearly two decades later I learned I had Klinefelter's Syndrome (KS). One of the telltale traits of KS is the body's inability to produce adequate amounts of testosterone and it's testosterone that creates much of the aggression in males.

So, while most of my classmates were dealing with testosterone-fueled puberty in junior high school, I missed this phase completely. I simply didn't have the physiological make-up at that time to exude aggression and to have the will to impose physical pain on others.

1 comment:

  1. Trey!!

    Damn, it's been way too long since I've last visited your site...

    I'm glad that your life hasn't been dominated by testosteron. There is nothing good about this. Teens trying to be cool, agression on every corner of the street. I too have an inadequate amount of testosteron in my body, but I don't feel bad about this. I'm a rather peace-minded person, but just don't get me angry, for I don't know where my limits lie... ;)

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