The Highlights of My Neighborhood Football Games Were Never This Sweet!

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I remember when I was a kid, we would organize actual tackle football games in the neighborhood open space where I lived, on the Mean Street of McLean.

To do so, was no small feat. It required somebody calling multiple home phones, running through the parent gauntlet to get to your buddy, asking if he could come by around 1 p.m. to play, and then repeating the process until you had enough kids to get a game up.

And yeah, we would tackle each other. Luckily the worst injury was a separated shoulder to one Greg Planicka, a rail thin speedster, who was like trying to cover the equivalent of Desean Jackson.

Well, fast forward about 35 years, and I am now putting on a single semi-organized game every fall, on the most gloriously absurd patch of home football field this side of the Mississippi.

Should I be having my buddies over to play flag football games every weekend in the fall?

Of course!

But I haven’t done a good job networking with adult male family men out in the hinterlands where I live. So I settle for getting a handful of them to bring their kids out after Thanksgiving.

I’ve got to do better.

I remember those neighborhood games fondly, and the highlight plays I made (every kid had a few) were exhilarating. My brother Jim, who you see above in the Fightin’ Donkeys jersey played in all these games with me. I am quite sure we tackled each other, more than a few times.

I would kill for a handful of pictures from those games. Sadly, none exist. Kids don’t think about taking pictures of themselves so they become priceless artifacts 30 years later.

Andy Pollin, my longtime radio sparring partner, is seen above wearing his JV high school jersey! And it still fits! The big tall chowd in the black is neighbor “Boston Billy”, who is a great guy, with a great family. Sadly, he’s a Pats fan. Of course.

Well, maybe I’m compensating for all of that now. Because to have a stupidly awesome football field, with $600 of paint and over 15 man hours of my time, is apparently not enough.

I have to have a drone. I mean, hell. Why not? They are so f’in cool!

So who knows if the kids out there last weekend will cherish this little video when they are old and fat and working like a mule for “the man.”

I know I like it. And that’s enough.

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Steve Czaban is a 25 year sports radio veteran, who hosts an afternoon drive show in Washington D.C. "Czabe" also writes and edits his own commentaries for www.czabe.com and other on-line and print publications. He can be reached at czabe@yahoo.com.

14 COMMENTS

  1. This is about the coolest thing ever. I love this! Awesome job on the field. I love the dog running around in the ref uniform, I can almost guarantee that the dog would do better than most of the crews in the league.

  2. Played hundreds and hundreds of tackle football games as a kid(always telling my mom it was touch), never had one serious injury – tore my ACL making a no contact cut in an intramural FLAG football at Maryland…..figures. Gotta love little Beckham Jr. fanboy. Is he getting suction cup gloves and a stupid looking blonde dye job as presents this year?

  3. Not gonna lie, but that video left a little tear in my eye. What great memories everybody can take from that! I give it 5 Chris Farley’s “Aaawwwweeesome!” outa 5!!!!

  4. The field and its name are awesome. The fact that its named after my favorite players most awesome post game locker room hype sessions is icing.

    I remember during my elementary years…. at the first sign of a flurry of snow our daily ritual of “kill the man” playground football would switch from two hand touch to tackle. We always had fun and i dont recall any casualties other that a bunch of boys with holes in the knees of their sweat pants. kiddies these days can barely make it outside and when they do they need to be teflon coated with multiple layers of bubble wrap…

    Those were the days

    Czabe, your show is the best sports show on the air… keep it up

  5. I’m insanely jealous of the setup you have! We’ve got a tradition going on 6-7 years now of a Thanksgiving day father/sons football game at a local football field, but what you’ve done is incredible. It’s pretty cool to know that even though those neighbor kids may not necessarily remember YOU, they will tell stories to their kids and friends many years down the road about the crazy guy who setup and painted an actual football field for them to play on!

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