Even after a night’s sleep, I still can’t get over my friend’s blatant violation of football’s cardinal rule. Ava told me about her mortal sin yesterday. Naturally, she expected me to take her side on the issue as she always does, but I was too outraged to remember my place: “You went onto the field … and complained to the coach … during practice!!!!!?”
As she explained, the story I told her about my disastrously brief foray into J.V. football had amped up her fears regarding her son’s safety. She’d decided to observe yesterday’s high school practice session so she could assuage those concerns. Originally, she’d intended to remain unobtrusive and silently evaluate the activities from a tucked away corner of the bleachers. But that was before she caught sight of her son getting gang tackled while scrimmaging.
Without a second thought, she sprinted onto the field and planted herself next to the coach. He hadn’t yet noticed the invasion when she began yelling in his ear: “Are you going to let those boys jump on my son like that!? They could break his back!! Shouldn’t they be more careful out there!!!?”
After his initial shock wore off, the coach replied as if addressing an ignoramus: “Ma’am, you can’t walk on the field during practice!”
As I well know, the coach spoke only the truth. But he didn’t take into account the pit bull before him. Where her kid’s concerned, Ava’s not the type to slink off with her tail between her legs at some unexplained admonition. “Why not?,” she countered. “And don’t tell me you’re afraid for my safety. I know how to take care of myself!”
I’m sure no one had ever asked the coach to explain such a basic principle of football etiquette. Hell, I’ll bet he’d never imagined a scenario where the issue might arise. Most anyone would’ve answered Ava’s query the same simple way he did: “Lady, it’s just not done!”
While any football fan would’ve understood the coach’s message, my friend did not. The words sounded like gibberish to her, and she said so: “What the hell does that mean!!!?”
Alas, the coach had no chance to elucidate on the sanctity of the sideline. Dazed by the pesky mother’s continued intrusion, he failed to note a quarterback’s errant pass … until the tight spiral speared him between the eyes. The resulting nasal blood flow and swelling more than sufficed to terminate any further conversation.
Ava’s still waiting for an answer to her question. Certainly, her son and husband won’t be explaining any time soon. They’re too furious to say three words to her. As they both know, the boy’s ass has as much
chance of coming unglued from the bench this season as the coach’s nose has of straightening again. That’s just fine with Ava though, since the worst injury her kid may suffer now is a splinter.