I need to preface this post by telling you a little bit about Tyler, in case you don’t know him that well. Tyler is mild. He keeps things inside. Waaay inside. We did used to call him the “stormcloud” when he was little because he would take a lot and then all of the sudden he would explode. He does that with his family sometimes. NEVER with anyone else. He works hard, he doesn’t complain. He’s not showy. He’s constant. The ONLY time he got in trouble at school was when he was in 4th grade. The principal called me and reported that Tyler had been in a little pushing match because some kid on the playground had called him a 3rd grader. Even the principal couldn’t keep a straight face.
What We Saw: Friday night, the air has just a touch of cool. It’s football time. Jeff, Lisa & Bryce in the stands. Tyler on the field. There’s about 1 minute to go in the Saugus-Taft game and the score is 14-3. Doesn’t look like our boys in blue are gonna pull this one out. Ahh, preseason. The time when characters are built and we take on the big boys, and… lose. So anyway, we have the ball but we’re backed up against our own endzone. They run the play. Nothing. I look away, but unfamiliar movements catch my eye. Oh, there’s a tussle on the field, too bad. Wait! Is that #68 pushing and flailing, even maybe punching??? Did someone switch jerseys with our mild mannered Tyler? “Jeff, is that Tyler fighting?” Refs conference. Saugus: unsportsmanlike conduct, half the distance to the goal. Then, Taft: unsportsmanlike conduct, player ejected, 15 yards. I madly text Justin—“you’re brother just got a personal foul for FIGHTING!” Justin: “woah r u serious?” (I made sure to quote him exactly so there’d be no quibbling) I read a mixture of amazement and yes, pride and respect in that brief reply.
After the game, I wait for Tyler, and one by one the players come out saying things like, “yeah, I taught him everything he knows!” “Did you see your boy Mrs. Peacock?” etc., etc. So I’m thinking, he’s in big trouble. The whole team is talking about it. He probably got really chewed out by the coaches. I hope they let him play next week…
What Tyler Saw: (as reported on the way home) His teammate #73 had hit (a football hit, not a fight hit) a Taft player #42 at the whistle, which the Taft guy thought was a late hit so he started pushing him. Tyler came in to back #73 up and pushed the Taft player off of him. The Taft player then went wild and tried to punch Tyler so of course he was pushing him back in defense until others came in to break it up. The O Line Coach then gathered the line together to “lecture” them “sternly” and told them to look abashed, but in actuality he was quite proud and told them so. That’s football. It seemed to fit more with Tyler’s personality that he would get involved out of loyalty to a teammate, but still seemed out of character.
What Instant Replay Shows: No, we really don’t have instant replay. However, it was “game of the week” on the local television station (you can view it HERE, go to 19:00 minutes in the 4th quarter, sorry there’s not an easier way to clip it). We have watched it a few times. The conclusion? The incident was over, there had been a minor scuffle between #73 and #42 but it was OVER. Tyler basically started a new fight. OOPS. The other guy was dumb and started trying to punch, which not only would really hurt since there’s facemasks and visors and stuff blocking the way, but according to CIF rules he now has to sit out the next game.
The Aftermath: He’s walking a little taller. He’s got a new swagger. His teammates see a new depth to his personality. His brother bragged about him to his team and coaches the next day. He gets high 5’s everywhere he goes. That’s football. *sigh* Should I make him write a letter of apology to that Taft guy? That’s what I did when the playground kid called him a 3rd grader.