During my first year as a youth football head coach in the nine and ten-year-old division, we had serious offensive issues early in the season. Most of those stemmed from Jason, this giant turd of a quarterback whom I’d foolishly drafted in the second round. Jason was so pathetic and useless during our first game that I made the offense go into “Three Knees and Punt” mode during the entire second half. We won 7-0.
Revolutionary though it was, Three Knees and Punt could only take us so far. I knew something had to be done about the offense, and it had to start with getting rid of Jason and finding a real quarterback. I instructed my defensive coordinator, the beloved Coach Drake, to hit the recruiting trail.
Sure enough, the next Tuesday morning, Drake texted me: “Importent!!! Meet me at Long Johns at noon!”
I left work shortly before noon and drove to Long John Silver’s, Drake’s favorite restaurant. Drake was propped up against the driver’s side door of his white Chrysler Lebaron, wearing a “Big Dawg” t-shirt and double fisting cole slaw and hush puppies. Crumbs were all over his face and clothes.
“What the hell’s so urgent?” I asked.
“Sorry to text you at work, but this couldn’t wait. I think I found our new QB1.”
“I’ll show you.”
I followed Drake across the parking lot to the corner furthest from the restaurant. Standing next to a rusted late ‘80s Ford Bronco II were a man in his thirties and what appeared to be his thirteen or fourteen-year-old son. The man had dirty, unkempt hair down to his neck, week-old stubble, and wore a tattered Chipper Jones t-shirt jersey and Auburn hat. The kid was pretty tall with a crew cut and tracings of a mustache. He wore a stained white tank top, and the phrase “Fuck ‘Em Up” was tattooed on his left bicep.
“You must be Coach Letterman!” the man said, pumping my right hand enthusiastically. “Great to finally meet you! I’m Greg and this is my boy, Billy.”
“Hey coach,” Billy said in a voice much too deep for a ten-year-old.
“Nice to meet you son,” I said. “Hey Greg, could you give me and Drake just a second?”
I walked away with Drake until we were out of earshot.
“What the hell is this supposed to be?” I asked.
“They say he’s really good.”
“That kid. Billy.”
“Good at what?”
“Quarterback. You told me to find one.”
“That kid is the QB1 you were talking about?”
“He’s got a goddamn mustache, Drake! There isn’t a chance in hell that kid is ten years old. He can probably drive. I mean for Christ’s sake look,” I said, pointing. “He’s smoking a fucking cigarette!” We watched as Greg pulled out a couple of cigarettes, handed one to Billy, and lit it with a match. Billy dragged on the cigarette and exhaled two thick streams of smoke through his nostrils like he’d been smoking for ages.
“His birth certificate only says he’s ten,” Drake assured me. “I promise. Greg showed it me right before you got here.”
“Wait. Hold on. Greg just happened to have his son’s birth certificate on him at Long John Silver’s?”
“Did you ask him to bring it?”
“Drake, there isn’t a fucking chance that thing’s real.”
“Well it looked real to me. Had the hospital name and everything.”
“You know what? We’re so bad on offense right now, I really don’t care. If the league will take it, let’s bring Billy on board. I don’t give a shit if he’s really twenty. And Drake,” I said, “if that works, we need to get rid of Jason immediately. He’s useless. So just tell his parents that we see a lot of Oklahoma drills in the parking lot in his future of he returns.”
A day later, the deal was done, and Billy was on our official roster. Jason left the team in tears. We finally had our quarterback.