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Daddys, Let Your Babies Grow Up To Kick For The Cowboys March 7, 2007

Posted by doctorolove in Sports.
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It barely made the football news wire. It was sandwiched just below “Oakland Raiders equipment manager found sniffing jocks after the teams 2nd victory” and slightly above “Peyton Manning goes to the mini mart and buys Ho-Ho’s.” In big block letters, you will see it and even though we didn’t notice it, it may have single handedly changed the course of parenting for the next twenty years. It read, “The Cowboys have reached an agreement on a five-year, $8.5 million contract with punter Mat McBriar.” Yup, that’s right and for those of you who spent most of high school math hanging out at the food court and eating 3.95 Bourbon Chicken with three sides (I recommend the yellow rice but stay away from the green beans), Mat McBriar is making 1.7 million dollars a year. To punt.

To put things in monetary perspective, that is more than their starting quarterback, their starting tight end, their starting running back and the guy who refills the Gatorade when T.O. takes a whiz in it combined. You can answer 15 questions from Meredith Viera and still make less that Mat McBriar. You could not pay taxes for the next twenty years and Mat would still be able to bail you out of jail, pay your taxes and take you and several thousand of the friends you made in the joint to Hooters for .50 cent wing night (Hey, the man isn’t made of money!)

Now, this may just seem like another case where Jerry Jones has completely gone off his rocker or McBriar caught him watching Grey’s Anatomy in the owner’s box while wearing a “I Heart McDreamy” T-shirt. Whatever the reason (and I think it’s a combination of the two…only the shirt says “I Brake For Whiny Doctors”) I did say it changed the course of parenting. Because it’s giving dads, who live vicariously through their children, an outlet. And it’s an outlet where previous important aspects, such as athletic ability and body shape and size, have absolutely no need.

This nation is riddled with fathers who truly believe that their children can fulfill their own dreams of athletic stardom. They are more dangerous than stage mom’s, who more often than not have a stage credit or two (usually playing Amanda in the local theatre’s production of Glass Menagerie directed by some old, fat bald local “artist” who has lived for twenty years off the fact he was a swing in A Chorus Line in 1984.) They tasted the limelight and it is that which fuels them. Sideline dads, however, never played in any major league. The closest most of them got may have been playing on the same field with some guy who got to walk on with a Canadian league expansion team. To them, the son will be the dream whereas the mother thinks she can use the child’s dream to fulfill her own.

Before the signing last week, fathers knew early on whether they could force their child forward. Tossing the ball in the backyard or running around the neighborhood at a young age is usually a good test. If your child has several broken ocular bones or huffs and wheezes like Tony Soprano, your dream gets buried faster than Mandy Moore skin pics. Now, with punting a viable option, athletic ideals have lowered the bar. Simply teach him how to kick and who knows what will happen?

The punter is the most inconsequential job on a football team. Your job is to simply kick the ball high and far. While that may seem like an important and difficult task, you are, as a punter, ostensibly cleaning up after the real stars of them have stunk up the joint. A kicker is brought in when there’s some semblance of performance, be it a decent drive or a miracle interception. A punter is called when nothing happens. That must weigh on your psyche, huh?

And punters? They play for years. The oft-traveled Sean Landeta, I think, has played for every team ever and picks up his Social Security check after every game is over. While he may never have gotten a fat McBriar contract, he still gets to hang in the locker room, pal around with mega star athletes and occasionally catch the crumbs of wealth, women and endorsement deals that dribble free from the fed mouths of the giants they play with. (Non-Shakespearean description: They screw the fallout.)

And now with all that, you have money. Before punters were behind the scenes, often making pittance sums. Now with McBriar’s contract, you get the cake, can eat it too and can buy a few thousand more cakes and eat those as well. And you can eat as many of those cakes as you want, because the punter doesn’t have to be fit. In fact, science even proves that the gut can add an extra two or three seconds of hangtime (Also known as the Ron Jeremy Flab is Fab theory)

And they need punters too. In fact, there are so few good punters in our fair country, they’ve been invading Europe and Australian to find the right guy to clean up after their million dollar offenses. That should irk you, Sideline Dads. Why should real athletes get the job you are grooming your apathetic child for? I mean, soccer players have to run and jump and kick with ACCURACY. Surely, your plan will be thwarted if these “people with skill” continue their ascent on the position you can so easily grab. I mean, your kid can grab. Remember we’re not stage moms, right?

So take heart fathers of sons who have slightly less athletic prowess than John Goodman on a good day. Simply master the art of the punt (which is mostly mathematic in nature) and you can tell your whole group of friends, co-workers and those jerks you went to high school with that you have a son in the NFL. Unless he shanks one in the big game.

At that point, you have a child who sells cars. And that’s probably going to be true soon anyway. The Used Car salesman track is littered with the failed dreams of ex-athletes. In fact, Scott Norwood just sold me a really good Vespa. And, he WAS a kicker.

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