August 29, 2012


Hello, from my iPhone. My laptop is still lifeless. At this point I think I'm going to stick it out, not spend the $80 for a new charger, and go without it this week. A little difficult considering it makes me feel connected when I'm away... but I just think I would feel really spoiled buying that charger. So, the Mr. (who I miss dearly) graciously agreed to write a guest post (or two?) for you this week. Thank you, honey!

TWO guest posts? What was that you said about feeling spoiled? ;)

At long last (seriously, it seems like it’s been two years),it’s football season again! I realize that not every l+r reader is as excited as me, but when it comes to guest posts, you can’t always win. I was urged to keep it short, so even if you hate football, keep going. It won't be too painful.

Much like they will be during adulthood, Fridays are the coolest for school-aged kids. The teachers wear jeans and team colors, and there’s a certain, unmistakable buzz around town. Football games are the center of the universe on those late-summer and autumn Fridays. Oh, the lights...the band...the crowd. I specifically remember the occasions when some of the high school football players would visit my school. They would come and read to us, answer our ridiculous questions, and sometimes leave a lasting impression. That’s a pretty good tradeoff for getting out of chemistry class.

When I was in elementary school, we had recess twice a day. If you multiply that by about 180 school days, and then multiply that by six years, you get 2,160 recesses. An Ohio school year includes sweltering heat, gloomy drizzle, and waist-deep snow; we hold recess through all of the above. I would conservatively estimate that my classmates and I played football during 2,000 of those. I'm sure we had basketball hoops and swings, but I don't really remember. I do remember the two trees that marked the goal lines, though.

Football was everything; our dads and grandfathers had played, and it had been embedded in our town culture since the 1890s. We diligently collected football cards and did our best to answer our gym teacher’s weekly football trivia in the hopes of winning more. I’m guessing he discontinued trivia when his third graders started Wikipedia-ing the answers on their iPhones, but it was pure excitement for us.

We really were #1.
Our school system didn’t actually have full-contact football until eighth grade (luckily, we had those thousand two-a-days under our belts). Getting that first set of equipment was pretty exhilarating, even though the helmet almost took my ears off and about 20% of the guys put their girdles on backwards. It didn’t matter that we were using hand-me-down pads and helmets from our parents’ generation. We were the real deal!

I eventually became one of those high school hotshots who went to read to the little kids in my old elementary school. Since I wanted to go to college and become a teacher, it was a privilege that I truly cherished, even as a 17-year-old. High school football players were role models, right alongside firemen and police officers, and I was fully aware of that. Years later, while working as an administrator at a trade school, one of my (adult) students brought in a mini-football she had caught at a game when she was little, and it had my autograph on it. That’ll make you feel both old and silly.
You wouldn't recognize me now.
I am determined to get home and catch a high school game this year. One of my old teammates is now the head coach, which is kinda cool. I’m old enough that I can pretty easily attend a game without being detected nowadays. Not that I don’t want to chat (I actually do)… I just really want to watch those young guys play.


  1. Very good guest blog Mr. Martin. Hope you make it home for one of those Friday night games!!!

  2. i always totally love the guest post. especially this one. football fridays were almost magical then. nothing like rooting on the boys. you guys made for quite a few great games and something about old pics.. that dont really seem like they were that old...but i will remember you all just as we were. young and carefree. hope all is well. see you hopefully around the holidays. its always a pleasure to run into the martins.