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The Likely Overage Quarterback 

During my first season coaching, we were having major offensive problems, particularly at the quarterback position. I eventually learned about a troubled kid who is a good athlete and interested in joining a team, so my DC and I agreed to meet him and his dad at Long John Silver’s to work him out in the parking lot. He immediately impressed us and we made him our starting quarterback.  

The once hitch is that I had a very strong suspicion he probably was at least twelve years old (the age limit for our league was ten). He was about 5’6 and already had tracings of a mustache. But as they used to say in the ‘90s, “Don’t ask, don’t tell” – a mantra that gives me what my cousin the workers’ comp attorney likes to call “plausible deniability.”

The Piccolo Player

Back in 2015, I drafted the Piccolo Player near the end of the youth football draft, believing it would be easy to make him quit. As his name suggests, he is a classically-trained musician who plays the goddamn piccolo for the school band. Unlike most of the other kids on our team, he is a high academic achiever (LOL) and is polite, cultured, and quite sophisticated for a kid his age. A loser, in other words. My and DC and I initially resorted to a variety of tactics to make him quit, including mockery and making him participate in the “Punt Returns with No Fair Catches” drill. Given his bookish personality, he also was the subject of almost non-stop ridicule and harassment by his teammates, which the coaching staff and I encouraged. Despite all this, we could not get him to quit. 

Yet, over time, the Piccolo Player miraculously became perhaps the most valuable player on the team. He was often the only player that could understand my more more complex strategies, and I started consulting with him on play calls and other issues as the season progressed. His intelligence also made him a devastating blitzer from the linebacker position. As he proved his merit on the sidelines and on the field, the ridicule from his teammates stopped, and he became the most revered player on the team and a legend at school. 

The Piccolo Player is frail and shorter than most kids his age, and he has a high voice. He is often dressed in overly formal attire. He started off the season with longer hair that was shorn off when I forced him to get a “high and tight” haircut from a Great Clips stylist I brought to practice.

Shane the Dumbass

Think JaMarcus Russell and Tony Mandarich all rolled into one and multiplied by ten – that’s how big of a bust Shane the Dumbass was for our youth football team.

In 2015, I used one of my early draft picks on a defensive lineman named Shane. Although I’d been warned he was dumb as a rock, he had a reputation for physically assaulting other kids at school unprovoked, so he seemed to be a perfect fit. 

Shane turned out to be massive disappointment. I have a certain tolerance for, and in fact I outright encourage, a lack of academic intelligence. But Shane was such a dipshit and had such a short attention span that he was incapable of watching for the ball to be snapped. The result on the majority of plays was that he either jumped offside or just sat there in his three-point stance like a dumbass long after the ball had been snapped. We initially tried to motivate him through humiliation by calling him “Shane the Dumbass.” When that didn’t work, we bought one of those remote-controlled shock collars that they make for dogs. The hope was to get him to have a Pavlovian reaction to getting electrocuted whenever he jumped offsides or failed to come out of his stance when the ball was snapped. It didn’t help at all and only resulted in some do-gooder parent lodging an anonymous complaint with DFCS.  

Shane the Dumbass is a pudgy kid who usually wears a tank-top. Not surprisingly, he’s a huge Auburn fan. He usually has a candy bar in one hand and a Mountain Dew Ice in the other. He almost always has a confused look on his face similar to that gigantic wedding reception picture of Will Ferrell in Old School.  

The DT with the Rat Tail

The DT with the Rat Tail is a player that we recruited mid-season in 2015 to replace Shane the Dumbass. My DC, who works at Sonic, learned about a potential defensive tackle from a customer. The kid had been in juvie and then suspended for the first month of school after he attacked a librarian at the end of last year. Evidently, he body slammed the librarian after being informed that the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series (he struggles to read the books, but is a big fan of the unforgettable and haunting illustrations) was checked out. Under league rules, players are ineligible to play during a suspension. But with the kid’s suspension having ended, he was eligible to play. After a dinner meeting with his parents at Kmart’s “Big K” Cafe, we took him over to the sports aisle to run some drills. We were very impressed with what we saw. He joined the team and became a dominant defensive player. 

The DT with the Rat Tail is a big, mean-looking kid with – you guessed it – a rat tail. He usually has a dirty and unkempt appearance. He is a borderline sociopath, violent, and not very bright, but is a dominant defensive player. He’s the kind of kid who is destined to either end up bouncing strip clubs along the Florida Panhandle or in the can. In other words, he is the ideal player. He often draws personal fouls and occasionally suspensions for his play. He is a constant source of disciplinary problems at school and has tried to fight other kids, teachers, parents, etc., but through the tactical maneuvering of my cousin the workers’ comp attorney, we’ve been able to avoid any major suspensions. 

The DT with the Rat Tail’s Cousin Cody

The DT with the Rat Tail’s father informed me that he had a cousin named Cody who was an outstanding defensive end. The one hitch was that Cody lived in a different town and did not technically reside within the league’s residency boundaries. Where others may have seen an insurmountable barrier, I saw a minor bump in the road. I deputized my cousin the workers’ comp attorney with seeing if he could work a little legal magic on the residency papers.

Like any great attorney, he succeeded. I don’t want to go into details in case league officials or law enforcement officers are reading this, but some paperwork was filed to change Cody’s official residence to a local campground that is located within our district. There was technically some truth to that, as that’s where Cody sleeps on occasion when his step-dad kicks him out of the house for getting into his supply of Wild Turkey.

Cody eventually joined the team, and he and the DT with the Rat Tail became a devastating combination on our defensive line. They are practically the same person, the difference being that Cody cuts his own hair and has a bowl cut, rather than a rat tail. 

The Vegan

The Vegan is a kid I drafted in the late rounds of the 2015 youth football draft. Knowing he was a vegan, I assumed he was a weak-willed loser who we could make quit by sitting a Hardee’s Bacon Thickburger in front of him and giving him the choice between eating it or letting his teammates line up and tackle him in the parking lot. As it turned out, the Vegan was a pretty good athlete who we put at outside linebacker. He also started eating meat at my encouragement, leading to a tearful confrontation with his mother in which she accused me of being complicit in mass murder. 

The Vegan looks like about what you would expect from the child of vegans. He has longer, hippy-ish hair and wore T-shirts of bands you’ve never heard of because they probably suck. 

Lord Stonehands

Lord Stonehands is a British exchange student who I drafted in 2017. I had no idea he was British until he showed up to practice and started talking with a British accent and saying bullshit like “keen” and “brilliant.” That immediately pissed off my DC and my offensive assistant who is on probation for selling counterfeit Oakleys. Evidently he’s from some blue blood English family that gets invited to the Royal Wedding and other nonsense I stopped caring about in 1776. 

To make matters worse, he was absolutely terrible as a wide receiver and could not catch the ball, leading us to start calling him “Lord Stonehands.” We also punished his ineptitude as a player by making him do up-downs while reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. His host family hates me. 

Lord Stonehands looks like he just walked off the set of Downton Abbey. He is usually dressed in his private school attire, has a copy of the Financial Times under his arm, and speaks in a very formal manner. Along with the Piccolo Player, he is easily the most intelligent player on the team. 

The LB/FB Who Can’t Read

The name is self-explanatory. This kid is the hardest hitter in the entire league, but signs his name with an X and is completely illiterate. He is not allowed around other kids at school. I have an offensive formation I call the “Formation of Death,” which is a Power I with the DT with the Rat Tail and his Cousin Cody lead blocking for the LB/FB who can’t read.