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Football vs Football

July 11, 2018

I’m so happy to see so many of my British friends finally embracing football. Who knew those NFL exabition games would have such an impact? Apparently they had a big match today. (They’re called “games” but you’re new to the sport, we’ll cut you a break.)

I thought it was a pretty obvious joke. My British friends got it, some of my American friends didn’t.

First let me say that I’m very disappointed that England lost their World Cup match. I don’t even like football and I was pulling for them. Well, I like football, just not their football, what we American call soccer.

Obviously there are substantial differences between the two footballs. The fact that one is mostly played with your feet, and the other with your hands, comes immediately to mind.

But, I wanted to focus on the difference in timing. In football, as played by the non-United States world, players run pretty much the entire game. I’ve played pick up games and you quickly become winded if you aren’t used to it.

European footballers will use this fact to look down on their American cousins playing “pigskin” football. That and the fact that American football players only play half the game: offense or defense, but typically not both. And yet, footballers don’t run full speed the entire game. Football players in America give as close to 100% effort as possible from the snap of the ball until the whistle blows. They may not be running the entire game, but during the time the ball is in play, they are exerting maximum effort. Between plays, they rest.

I’m playing American football at work right now. I’ve built a reputation of being on call 24×7. Of putting the customer first. Of giving up time with my family, or at least sharing it, in order to keep doing my job. That’s the American football attitude while the ball is in play.

But, this week, I’m not. Sure, I’m on call. And when something breaks, I’m still giving it 100%. But, the rest of the time, I’m not. I didn’t intend for this to be a down time, but it is.

I’m sitting in a hospital room. The lights are dimmed, the subdued light from my iPad competing with the green and yellow light from the various monitors.

I’m not sick. That would be too easy. My child was admitted on Monday after an emergency room visit for severe pain. The doctors are making progress and the longterm prognosis looks promising. But, in the mean time, I’m a scared dad sleeping at the bedside of a scared kid.

If my phone rings I’ll answer the call and run my routes, or fulfill my blocking assignments. But, until the snap of the ball, I’m taking a break.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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