Friday, February 12, 2010

Reuben in Pads Again

Just over 5 years ago my son hung up his cleats. He was a senior in High School and December marked the last game of his "career" I guess you'd say. Too small at 6'2" and 220 pounds to play for the University of Oklahoma, my son chose to go to the Army and become an American soldier. He just has that gladiator spirit; both on and off the football field. Having completed his tours and returning from Iraq as well as his 3.5 year duty station of Ft. Wainwright in Fairbanks, Alaska - - he has now turned his camo in for pads again.

The Ardmore Extreme is a minor league professional team located in southern Oklahoma. Believe me when I say there is NO SHORTAGE of these smaller minor teams around the Texas and Oklahoma border - - as well as creeping into the heart of each state. Reuben's team plays 10 games a season, and has it's own version of playoffs and a championship game. Without 20 or 30 teams close enough to drive to there aren't more than a couple of divisions but lots of football to play, and lots of noise to make. The mud we share with Texas after the recent snow fall this week only gets the players that much more excited to practice tomorrow in full pads.

Breaking out his old high school (Freshmen) jersey that I think he actually gave to me for safe keeping, he's on Cloud 9 tonight. We drove more than 250 miles today looking for the right helmet, more than that last week picking up pads, cleats, socks, the mask for the helmet, and other "Extreme" essentials. The actual jerseys are being made now, the real helmets being painted, but that didn't stop Reuben from going out and getting his own set of back up pads, helmets and shoes. He's even got a visor! He's ready - - he wants to hit something.

I took these two pictures of him and I had to laugh. Five years ago he was pretty big and had the long hair, the big heart, the goofy grin that said "I'm playing football! I'm playing football" but today it's all cropped hair, tattoos and that new foo-man choo moustache peaking out from behind a $350 helmet for practice. PRACTICE...and he almost bought an even more expensive one. I don't think you need a radio helmet for a minor league and I really don't think you need one with a computer for practice - - just sayin'.

The thought did occur to me though that I could learn to hack into it and give another play just for the fun of it - - in practice. I wouldn't do that in a real game. I promise.

Reuben did have ONE thing go wrong today while looking for his new head piece. He had to get a large youth rather than a medium adult. When I think about it, it makes sense. Reuben really is more of a large kid anyway. He'll have so much fun tomorrow - - I think I'll pick up a bottle of bleach on my way home from the field.

No comments: