Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Life As An NFL Scout...Sort Of

The other day, my buddy Bill and I were invited to a St. Louis Rams practice session. Seeking a return to the championship glory of former head coach Dick Vermeil’s “Greatest Show On Turf,” it is the start of another season under new head coach Jeff Fisher. Though only a passing Rams fan but a football fan in general – born to love the “Big Red,” raised on the Dallas Cowboys and eschewing both for my beloved Denver Broncos – it nonetheless was a thrill. While offense and defense ran mini-scrimmages – red-shirted quarterbacks scrambling from non-threatening yet pressing linemen, receivers practicing catches against pursing defensive backs – kickers did…whatever it is kickers do during practice. Typically, off by themselves in their own corner of the field. (Is he seriously just catching the ball and dropping it to the ground, making the slow motion pantomime of kicking??? And what’s the other one doing leaning against the goal post? Barres?)

As we sipped on free water and soda – there was no beer offered, despite a beer truck parked across the way – under the shade of exclusivity, I could not help but wonder...whose wife is she? Er, rather…is there perhaps another Bob Waterfield, Jack Youngblood or Marshall Faulk among the newest recruits? Or will they turn out another Terry Baker, Tony Banks or Lawrence Phillips? (Seriously though…with that body, those can’t all be her kids. Can they?)

Bill’s son, clearly deceived into believing we were going to an actual Rams game, became easily bored from the start. In time, though, he had made friends and started a pickup game of touch football. Some of them, preferring the tackle aspect of the game, not too keen on the touch part. With activity for the main event taking place across the field, we casually scouted the pickup game:

Bill’s son – Positives:  strong field vision, soft hands, opportune speed, aggressive on the ball; Negatives:  overly aggressive at times, sportsmanship needs improvement.
Little blonde girl – Positives:  nice field vision, good pursuit, runs well in a dress; Negatives:  gives up easy, fumbles under pressure.
Little blonde boy – Positives:  good pursuit; Negatives:  becomes bored, mom doesn’t allow him to play for long.
Taller little blonde boy – Positives:  good-natured, aggressive on the ball, demonstrates sportsmanship; Negatives:  overly confident in making team by wearing a “Snow #84” jersey.

Wait…Snow? As in former Los Angeles Rams wide-receiver and broadcaster Jack Snow? Bill and I conclude there is only one reason a little kid in the section in which we are seated would wear such a jersey – clearly, this is a relative, possibly a grandson or great-grandson. We discern that the table next to us is in fact the Snow family, or elements thereof. Quickly, Bill calls his son over, telling him to sit and rest until time to leave. No need for a lawsuit should there be too much aggression in the game of “touch” football, or at the very least banishment from the facilities.

Not much later as the practice session concluded, with players heading either to the locker room, media interviews or to sign autographs for fans, we gathered ourselves and headed to Hooters to scout the talent there…

Clearly, Team All-Americans

©2012 Steve Sagarra

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