Word association is always a fun game because the responses tend to vary. Consider a recent set where someone said “Montana” – my response: “quarterback“, my wife’s: “vacation”. Then the word was “gambling” – my response: “Pete Rose“, hers: “Monte Carlo“. Next word, “Big Easy” mine: “Ernie Els“, hers: “New Orleans“. And finally, “fantasy” mine: “football” hers: “Bora Bora“. The person asking the words suggested my wife might be giving me a hint to take her on a trip, but I still don’t see how she drew those conclusions. As for mine, I had to concede that I’m a little wired towards sports. And so it is that when someone says “Thanksgiving” I think “football”. It’s not too hard to figure then that our latest Dads’ Bucket List get together would be for a friendly little Turkey Bowl on Thanksgiving morning. Before I get to the recap let me apologize for the delay in getting this latest post out but when you throw out one of your turkey wings flingin’ the pigskin around it’s a little hard to type. But enough of the mamby pamby excuses, let’s break down our latest happening – the 2012 Turkey Bowl (13.5 players and 5 spectators – a sellout!).
This outing got gobbled, make that cobbled together kind of last-minute with about a 48 hour window prior to kickoff. Now I know that some people had legitimate reasons for not being able to make it, but some of them made me raise my eyebrows just a little. One guy said he couldn’t do it because his family was re-enacting the original sailing of the Mayflower across the Mississippi River (good effort even from a ‘Bama grad, but you might want to research that body of water). Another was out because his kids would be in school (that home schooled crowd tends to be wound a little tight). The worst was the dad who said he had to cook a turkey (ever heard of “set it and forget it”?). But my favorite one was probably the guy that said he didn’t want to lose his place in line camping out at Best Buy. Nevermind the excuses, we would soldier on and play football. Like real men. Battling in the trenches. Fighting for every yard. With flags on.
As everybody trickled in we were all throwing and catching (at least trying to) to get warmed up a little. I couldn’t figure out why my son, Blake, wasn’t throwing and catching much with the other dads and kids, but rather standing around watching. However, it became abundantly clear what the little man was up to once we started picking teams. “Dad, can Mr. Brown, Ben, and Uncle Mike all be on my team?” was his first question. The kid had been scouting talent and tried to take a page out of the New York Yankees playbook by cornering the market on all the top talent. Savvy move, but he wasn’t getting away with it on this day. So we settled on some quasi-fair teams and got things underway.
In the opening offensive huddle, Chad Brown used the play from our youth that we’re all familiar with “everybody go out for a pass.” Just as we’re getting ready to break the huddle his 7-year-old son, Ben, tells us to hold up and let’s us know who’s in charge. He starts giving everybody routes. “I want you to run a skinny post. I want you to do an up and out. I want you on blind side protection and covering the A gap. Oh and be prepared for me to audible if they’re lined up in cover 2. Ready? Break!”. Ben breaks out and the other 5 of us are all standing there looking at each other like we just showed up for our first day of school only to find out all the classes are being taught in Swahili. Couple of winks among the dads and we all lined up. Once the ball was snapped, we all reverted to Chad’s original play and everyone went out for a pass. And so this was the rhythm for how the rest of the game would go. We would put the little men in charge of designing creative plays, but in the end everyone would simply go out for a pass. We lost a couple of our younger players who found a huge leaf pile to be as much fun as flag football. Back on the field, there were plenty of broken plays, plenty of dropped passes and even plenty of scoring. Most importantly though there were plenty of laughs.
When it was all over the little men wanted to know who won. Not sure if we ever figured out who did, but I’m guessing based on the smiles, backslaps and high fives that we were all better off for having played. So let’s close this latest experience out by going back to that game of word association and let you play.
First word: PRIORITY
Second word: FAMILY
Last word: LEGACY
GO. SEE. BE. DO.