Tuesday, November 19, 2013

How I Coached an NFL Team

So…a Marine, a Chiefs player, and a Red Cross volunteer walk into a bar classroom…

And now you're waiting for the punch line, right?

Uh. There isn't one. Because - this really happened!!!

Okay…so here's the story. Of how I coached an NFL team. And gave orders to a Marine.

Yeah. That really happened. Squee.


The Red Cross collects Christmas cards every year to give to service men and women, as well as veterans, all over the world. There's like, millions of veterans and such, so we need like, millions of cards. We need help.

A picture I took this morning. I love this picture, by the way.

This morning, several local Marines, as well as some members of the Kansas City Chiefs Rookies Club, teamed up with us and we all headed to a local elementary school to sign cards with the students.

Upon arrival, we get a "pre-game" pep talk from our "general manager" in the locker room library:

Okay. It's really our Financial Development officer with the Red Cross…but 'GM' will suffice for the story….

We'd broken up into small groups, with each Red Cross volunteer taking a "team" of players and Marines to a classroom. We were to host it - or in my case, "coach" it. So I did.

Once it was "game-time", I took my team and walked into the stadium classroom to a resounding cheer from the crowd. No, really. When we walked in, the students immediately went into all, "GO, CHIEFS" shouting mode. And although I knew the cheers weren't really for me, I basked in them, anyway. I can vicariously be a Chiefs player, right? Or at least a Chiefs coach. Hee.

Soon…it was kick-off. I coached the kids, the players, and the teachers, telling them why our program is so important…as well as passing out cards for everyone to sign. Our strategy was crucial. We had a solid game-plan, but had a few trick plays up our sleeves, if needed. The scrimmage began:

It was kinda' my job to referee, as well…making sure no one was offsides, or committing any personal fouls, or holding, for heaven's sake. I hate holding. Gah. Can't have that, right? NO ONE GETS TO HOLD THEIR CARDS AND DO NOTHING!!!!

At half-time, I went to go check on another classroom, and to my chagrin, I found that they were scoring more points producing more cards - than my team was. I quickly ran back and huddled my group together, and gave a pep talk that would make Knute Rockne proud.

"Okay, guys - the 2nd-graders are making more cards than we are! And we're FOURTH-GRADERS!!! Are we going to let that happen?"

Fortunately, team spirit kicked in, and we had a last-minute rally, going in for the home stretch on writing cards.

At one point, I noticed my team getting fatigued. I saw that my Marine, Officer Lantz, was content just sitting on the bench. I quickly motioned for him to get on the field and start playing. He looked at the 4th-graders in terror; I think he would have been more comfortable on a battlefield, honestly, then in the trenches of 10-year-olds.

"Get in there! I need you!" I implored.

"I can't, Coach," he said, beseechingly.

"Officer…think of the TEAM! You can't let your team down! We're a band of brothers!!!"

With that, he squared his shoulders and ran into the midst of the chaos…never hesitating after that to give it his all.

I was so proud.

The team rallied on. Oh, there were injuries - I'm sure I saw some hands and fingers cramping from writing in the cards - but my team was TOUGH and they didn't let a few muscle spasms stop them from winning the battle.

Although the 4th-graders tried to throw a delay of game on us, by preventing us from leaving, soon it was over…and the true winners were the veterans and active-duty soldiers who will be the recipients of these fabulous cards.

My players voted me MVP, and I told them that I was proud to share the trophy with all of them:

I'm just so grateful that they didn't douse me with a cold shower of Gatorade afterwards. Brrr.

Not to mention - it would ruin my hair. Gah.


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