“We Were Men Once”

This is a little piece … it’s not fiction so much, but I’m not exactly sure what it is. Just got nostalgic about playing football with my friends. Been trying to write from a very honest emotional place of late.

I remember the Sunday afternoons, the sweatpants, the tattered jerseys. I remember the worn college-sized football, the crisp fall weather, the orange cones marking out the out-of-bounds lines and the first down markers. I remember the broken nose I got, the concussions, the knee that to this day pop and cracks and hurts when I run. I remember hitting men and getting hit, of crawling on all fours as my breath came back to me, of grunting as I try to block a defender twice my size. I remember the anger that would boil over, the fistfights, the blatant fouls and late hits, and the fact that we could return them the favor on the next play. I remember the touchdowns, the perfect deep pass dropping over the shoulder of the receiver like Montana to Rice, the juke to make the defender slide on the wet grass and slapping hands away from gripping my robust Buffalo Bills jersey. I remember the excitement of seeing someone catch their first touchdown, of seeing someone overpower someone they never thought they could, of dropping their shoulder and planting the defender in the chest, throwing him backward. I remember the touchdown dances, taunting the opposing players, waving my finger in their face, hoping they came at me angry, because when they charged me with anger, they became that much easier to evade. I remember coming home bruised and cut and groaning and feeling more alive than I’d felt in months.

Now we have children, health insurance, things to do, and what-ifs. We walk around scared. We become fragile. We get busy. We lose interest. We live through others because we’re afraid to feel alive like that again.

About Adam Nannini

The greatest writer of his generation ... which isn't saying much.
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