posted by Joe Anaya on November 7th, 2011

As a child, I would much rather sit inside and color, read comics or play board-games than be dragged outside for a game of baseball or basketball. I didn’t really grow into my body until middle school or high school and found my sports interest at around the same time. But by then it was too late. The other kids had been playing ball since grade school. I was so far behind the other boys, I was always picked last to be on a team. Kids feel bad being picked last, but guess what, even nowadays when they don’t let kids pick teams, everybody knows who the worst players are.

I am determined to change all that for my son. Genetics be damned. I dragged him kicking and screaming out to throw the ball back and forth. He liked batting in T-ball, but would quickly get bored with standing in the field or sitting on the bench. He pulled his shirt over his head and ran around blindfolded in soccer. He would flinch every time the football came anywhere near his body. Through his complaints, I would tell him, “You don’t have to be good; you just can’t be the worst.”

Then one day I stumbled upon a secret motivation, money. After 20 minutes of pleading and threatening during football season, I offered him a dollar if he could kick the football into the pool. For 30 minutes, he kept kicking and kicking. No begging or further bargaining, all I had to do was retrieve the ball. Then it dawned on me. I’m only 5’10” and at my physical peak, 160 lbs., by some fluke, he’s on track to become 6’ tall, decent enough for a man, but not nearly big enough to succeed in sports at a high level. Unless…maybe he could be a punter?

If I could steer him towards some oddball position or sport, he could experience the joys of being part of a team, the highs and lows of a season and wouldn’t have to excel physically. A place kicker might work, but those guys seem to come from soccer and he doesn’t do soccer. Where do punters come from? No where, right? But wait, after thinking about it, I recall stories of how punters are often the best all-around athletes on the team. Rohn Stark a former all-pro punter in the NFL was once an Olympic decathlete. Steve Weatherford, punter for the Jets, was a 3-letter athlete in high school and a college track star. And it’s said that Ray Guy, the only punter to be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, could have played any skill position on the team. Really? Punters are athletes too?

Well, maybe he’ll have to get his sense of team from marching band and his competitive spirit from math club.

File Under King of the Castle, Weekend Warrior