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Monday, November 24, 2008

The Tryouts and the Aftermath and whatnots

So, I'm going to go ahead and answer the question that I posed in the title of this blog (and in the URL), "Could I Have Made It?"

Possibly. But not now.

The tryouts were tough this year - much, much tougher than last year, for either of the teams I tried out for. There were over 500 guys at this tryout, and in my group of 25 alone there were 2 ex-NFL guys, an ex-AFL guy, an ex-CFL guy, 3 recently graduated college players from Clemson, 2 from Alabama, and a guy from UNC, all of which were trying out for offensive lineman.

To put it simply, I was outclassed.

Now, that's not to say I went out there and proceeded to shove my thumb up my butt and dance to the soundtrack to A Chorus Line. I went out there and posted my lowest times in the 40-yard dash (5.4 seconds) and short shuttle (5.01 seocnds) since high school. I worked snapping drills and hand drills and position drills. I stood a bunch of defensive rushers up and I took a lot of hits. The offensive line coach even came up to me and said it was great seeing me out there again.

But I definitely think there's better talent to be had than my 31-year-old Vince-Papalli-wannabe self.

When I left the tryouts, I felt pretty down. I felt like I'd let myself down and looked pretty bad compared to the guys I was with. But a lot of guys came up to me afterward and patted me on the back and complimented my effort. A couple asked where I played college ball, or if I played still. And five - count 'em, five - guys came up to me and asked "Hey, are you the YouTube guy?" and said they loved the videos and that I'd spurned them on to come out to the tryout and give it a shot.

But it's only now, after two days of really analyzing it, that any of this has sunk in. Immediatley after the tryout, all I could think was "Well, it's over, and I'm definitely not making it this year." And all I could think about Sunday while watching football with Mike was that I squandered my my chance to be out on that field professionally when I walked off the field and turned my back on football in high school.

But sitting here, right now, listening to a little Duke Ellington and icing down my ankles (both of which have been ballooned up since the tryout), I am calmer and more rational, and I think that I gave my best effort possible. I couldn't have trained harder, and I couldn't have learned any more about the game, and I couldn't have picked up any more techniques, and I couldn't have worked with any better coaches and ex-players.

I did my best. My real, honest to God best. And I'll probably not make it this year, and that's alright - because I did what I went out there to do. I tested myself.

I have to say it again, because it just seems like words unless I really, really call attention to this fact: I tested myself. I put myself to the test. I analyzed my capabilities, I scored the metrics, and I improved on every single one of them - to the point where I could compete and hang with a group of guys who have played professionally and for the past 5 years at the college level.

I tested myself. And I passed.

And I'm damn proud of that.

Will I try again next year? Probably not. I haven't decided if I'm going to hang up my cleats and go for something else, or if I'll play for some of the semi-pro and sub-pro teams that took my name down and said they'd call. Hell, there's even an outside chance that, come January 9th, I'll get that call from the Georgia Force and head off to camp... But probably not. And probably not with the semi-pro teams, and probably not with the sub-pro arena teams. I've come what I came to do, and it's probably time for a new challenge... Who knows, I used to be quite the Judo player, maybe I'll jump into and conquer the MMA world and get a clothing brand named after me, with lightning bolts and grunge Photoshop brush graphics. I'll name it Peacockshun, and it'll appear in old english font across the chest, and kids everywhere will buy the decals and put them on their trucks.

Or, maybe I'll just stick to writing, and keep working out because it feels good.

Nah, probably not that, because I suck at keeping up with things unless I have a larger goal in mind. Maybe windsurfing or full-contact trampolining. Or chess. Who knows.

Whatever it is, you can expect a bunch of retarded YouTube videos chock full of ill-fitting music and silly quick-cuts. And of course, the Batman mask:

One thing I know I'll definitely be doing: I've received a ton of email about the "How Football Saved My Life" article and the "Beginner's Guide to the Gym" article, and it's made me VERY happy to hear so many people took my words as inspiration and began exercising. So I've decided to make a real, no-nonsense guide for real people on real ways to build strength and get fit. I'm not a California beach-body guy, but I think that's really the point - I think people get discouraged when they see these tanned, chiseled bodies, thinking "If that's fit, I'll NEVER get there, so why bother?"

That's not fit. That's not even natural. It's a special class of people who have the luxury of working out all day, who can afford $500-an-hour trainers and designer foods and supplements.

No, that's just obsessive. Fit is fit - and I think I'd like to teach people how to get that way. So we'll see how that goes. Either way, you'll be seeing my ugly mug soon. Count on that.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I probably should have mentioned this earlier:

I'm not posting here right now for a very good reason, but I cannot tell you what the very good reason is until later. Not sure how much later, but later. But it's a good reason.

I will say this:

Georgia Force tryouts are November 22nd, 2008. I am about 30% stronger in every category I can imagine from this time last year, and have shaved a full second off of my shuttle drill and half a second off my 40 yard dash. I have worked technique drills for a year now.

I will let you know how it goes, and what the reason is, after that :)