To kick this thing off, I'll start a few years back, around 2004. And why not? 2004 was a fine year for things to start.
Back then, there was this... Well, the only way to describe him is "jackass"... Who worked for me at a software company I led development for. This guy - we'll call him "Norman" because that was part of his name - was one of those fitness-freak types.
Not the kind we point and giggle at in public because they like working out a lot, but the type we point and giggle at in public because they are doing jumping jacks in the middle of the hallway regardless of who is working or standing around them.
The guy was a FREAK.
He was also a troublemaker with a huge race-related chip on his shoulder, but that's a story better suited for my next book
. Anyway, he was a bit of a weirdo, but he had this idea that, at age 24, he could try out for the Georgia Force
arena football team. After all, he played quarterback in high school and was a walk-on for his college team, so he had a good shot.
I laughed at him. "There's no way," I told him. And I was right - he was 5' 4" and about 160 lbs. He knew nothing about his chosen position (both in football and at the job he was hired for at my company). He failed right the heck out.
But it got me thinking... "Could I make it?" And yes, I know the name of this blog thing is "Could I have made
it," but I'm getting to that part, so just simmer down.
It brought to mind a number of conversations between my father and I about playing in high school, and the opportunities I had to go to college and play... What would have happened if I'd stuck with the sport? What could I have achieved? My dad held (and still holds) the opinion that, if I'd not turned my back on the game my Senior year after some of the players peed in my helmet during a ridiculous hazing attempt
, I could have GONE... ALL... THE... WAY!
Like, to the pros.
But then again, he's my dad, and as a matter of course, it's his job to say such things. And as his son (and a fervent realist), it's my job to poo-poo such silliness. And I'd done a fine job of it all the way until Norman The Fitness Freak directed my attention to the fact that there was a professional arena team in Atlanta that held open tryouts every year. And what's more - they post the results after the tryouts.
I looked at the results for 2004 and couldn't help but smirk. Bench press 225 lbs? Sure, not a problem. Run a 40 yard dash? Yeah, I could do that. Run through pass rush and pass blocking drills? Why not? I still remember how all that stuff works.
And that's where the notion turned into a little spark in my brain, based mostly on the realization that I still remember everything.
Every drill, every assignment, every technique... It's all second nature to me. I spent 8 years of my life practicing 5 days a week, 38 weeks of the year hammering that crap into my head. Of COURSE it was still there.
My thoughts while watching NFL and College games with my father began to change. They went from "Boy, I wish I was playing Tekken right now" to "Yeah, I remember that stuff..." to "Okay, yeah, maybe I COULD have made it to the pros."
Quite the leap, I know, but I'm trying to cover three years here. So give me a bit of leeway.
So, in 2006, I had a bit of a life experience that I'm not going to go into right now. It convinced me that I have no choice - get my ass back into the gym and do something with my body or I would end up in a very bad way. So I joined back up with Team in Training and trained for century rides in Tahoe, NV and Tuscon, AZ, and after that, I kept an intermittent schedule at the gym, lifting a few times a week and occasionally running.
Then, this year, I saw on television where the Georgia Force lost to Columbus Destroyers in the conference finals for the Arena Bowl. It reminded me of the conversations I'd had with Norman, and of the fact that the Force held open tryouts every year... And of course, of all of my talks with my dad and all of my past football-playing. And with the season ending, that would mean that open tryouts would be right around the corner.
And that's where the spark turned into a fire. At 30 years old, I've become obsessed with answering one question that has been bugging not only me, but a lot of people in my life -
Could I have made it?
And now, I'm determined to answer it.
Make no mistake - I don't have any retarded former-glory influenced delusions. I don't expect to walk into open tryouts at age 30 and say "Hey, I played in high school! Sign me right up!" I don't expect to make the best showing out there. But I know that, with enough training and enough drive, I can walk onto the field and at least make a showing. I can at least put on a decent tryout.
And if nothing else, I can end up with a pretty cool t-shirt.
So yeah - I'm going to try out for the Georgia Force, and I'm going to take you all along with me. My intention is to post my workouts to this site every day, and once a week, post a little video of my drills and whatnot to keep you appraised of my progress. The tryouts have not yet been announced, but according to the very nice people in the front office, there WILL be tryouts this year. They will probably be near the end of October (and last year, they had two - one in October and one in December). So, once they're announced, I'll post the date and begin a countdown. Until that point, I'll just keep track of my workouts and try to make them as interesting to read as possible.
Not that that's likely... It's a dude's workout. How interesting could it be? But hey, the background I made is nice to look at. Sorta. And the colors are cool.
Actually, I probably need to add moths and a vampire bat circling the lights to make them ultra-realistic.