Sussman’s not ready to Rrrrrrrumble …Written by Matt Sussman | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Some reporters cover sports because they enjoy going to games and talking to athletes. But others write about sports because they just plum diggity lack athletic talent. This is the group in which I belong.
A couple of months ago, I wrote about Toledo almost obtaining an expansion indoor football team, the Rumble. Instead, they relocated to Wooster and became the Wayne County Rumble. Many jokes ensued. A couple of them were actually funny.
A person close to the team e-mailed me — let’s call him “Sean Morley, Director of Operations, Wayne County Rumble” — and refuted the claim that the Rumble was only good enough to sign quarterbacks like “the kid who sat in front of me in homeroom in high school.” I’ll have everyone know that the guy who sat in front of me in homeroom was our school’s quarterback. And he went to Purdue. (Not on a football scholarship. Upon further reflection, I don’t think he played football again after he tore his ACL our senior year. My point is probably stronger if I don’t mention this information.)
But his ultimate challenge was not for me to apologize for my sarcastic column. Rather, “Sean Morley, Director of Operations, Wayne County Rumble” invited me to try out for the team on Sept. 9 in Wooster. I don’t recall what brand of hard candy was in my mouth when I read that e-mail, but it promptly landed on the other side of the room.
This was his way of showing me first hand the skill level of the Rumble’s athletes. By donning shoulder pads and getting bumped around like a pinball by men with forearms thicker than Pavarotti’s eyebrows, I would learn some lesson in humility. The thing is, there were also about seven intramural teams in high school whose rosters I probably couldn’t make. Moreover, after tryouts I’d be unable to make any sort of informed judgment due to the inevitable concussion from standing between a linebacker and whatever the heck he wanted behind me.
Perhaps I am too hard on myself. Maybe “Sean Morley, Director of Operations, Wayne County Rumble” isn’t teaching me a lesson. On the contrary, perhaps he firmly believes in me and my ability.
But where and when did he witness my skills? I’m thinking back to my college days. One year in an intramural game, I lined up outside the tackle, rushed the quarterback, jumped in the air about two inches, and thanks to my thick gloves I got a thumb on the ball as it left his hand. A pass deflection.
It may not be much to you or me, but maybe to the Rumble it was raw potential, and they have visions of me being the next Reggie White, only smaller, slower and with a tendency to cry after getting pushed too hard.
It could be the chance of a lifetime. As a blogger-turned-star athlete, I could be the modern day Vince Papale. Then it’s onto the NFL. Ben Roethlisberger might put me on his fantasy team and not the other way around. Then I’ll hold out for a bigger contract. Joe Theismann can question my work ethic during “Monday Night Football.” Then I’ll retire and desperately hold onto my macho persona with an appearance on “Dancing With the Stars.”
Actually, I think I’ll respectfully decline the invitation and concede that I couldn’t make Wayne County’s roster. But I will forward the e-mail to that guy who sat in front of me in homeroom.