Monday, January 19, 2015

The kicker

It's always a running joke about me that I am better than normal at most things, but not great at anything.

One of those things, surprisingly, was kicking a football.

When I was in high school, I went through a few weeks where I really enjoyed taking a football and kicking tee out to the football field and seeing how far I could kick a field goal.

I wasn't particularly interested in kicking as a skill; I just wanted to know the maximum distance I could kick a field goal.

I found out on a lovely fall day, with no tailwind. 48 yards. I can still remember the feeling of the ball exploding off my foot, and how that ball was in the air forever before it came down, just over the crossbar. I didn't really care about kicking after that, because I knew I could never kick a football harder.

Eli 13.5 enjoys kicking, too, so we go out occasionally when we want to do something relaxing.

With very little practice, he can make 35 yard field goals, and I'm expecting that by this time next year, he'll have made one from 45.

Today, I kicked a few. It's never felt right, trying to kick as an old man, but today the ball felt good coming off my foot. I made one from 30 into a headwind, but just barely.

"So if headwind is costing me 2 1/2 yards, which seems reasonable," I said, "then if I come out and kick with a slight tailwind, the net gain compared to a headwind would be 5 yards, which means I can still make a 35 yard field goal."

"That's a lot of circumstances, dad," Eli said, laughing.

He'll make a 49-yarder some day, but I still have the big foot for now. Historically speaking.

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