Monday, December 8, 2008

Off-season Employment

I’m the only person I know who used to strike out in kickball. And soccer…I can’t tell you how many times the ball escaped the real soccer players in my high school gym class, bounced my way—even slowly rolled towards me—and I missed it. As a teacher (during the off-season), I often tell my students that the greatest step towards overcoming something that seems insurmountable is to believe you can do it. I tell myself that, too. There’s no way I would have started a farm by myself if I wasn’t able to tell all those voices—mostly internal—that I can and will make it work. However, in the case of my inability to kick a ball, I don’t think I psyched myself out. It just seemed so easy. Every time the ball rolled my way, I forgot past failures and was so convinced I’d wallup the thing, my positive attitude only made the shock of completely missing that much worse. Mostly, though, I was just baffled. What was genuinely traumatizing, however, were my efforts at head-butting. The bloody noses were bad enough, but they went away quickly. It was the broken glasses and lingering headaches that cause panic, to this day, every time I see that stupid black and white checkered ball.

There was a highlight to my high school gym class soccer career. Unfortunately, that too turned out disastrous. At the time, I enjoyed bonding with the other kid who stood as close to the sidelines as possible without failing gym. He was a tall, lanky math genius who always got in trouble. We had spent several detentions together, throughout the years, and there he would always threaten to beat me up. But, on the soccer field, me and math guy were allies. Mostly we’d pick on other members of our team, but then shout out encouragement—completely opposite to the insults we’d mutter to each other. This kept the gym teacher happy and was mildly entertaining for us. Honestly, I would just say something along the lines of, “Miss it, miss it, miss it,” every time the ball bounced towards one of those star players, and then I’d roar applause if he made a goal or something. I was always a little uncomfortable with what math guy would utter. It was usually more diabolical, like, “I hope he falls and breaks his neck,” and then he'd shout, “Oh, great kick. Oh yeah, keep up the good work. Go team.” Turns out, at that time in his life, math guy was a practicing serial killer, which definitely obliterates that one little beam of sunshine from my soccer career.

But this isn’t about hand/eye coordination or serial killers. This is about off-season employment. I want to be a back-up punter in the NFL. This profession contains the challenge that I like—the potential to better myself, but it also allows me to be profoundly lazy and make a (relative) ton of money. In addition, the timing of this job is perfect! I think. I don’t actually watch football, so I’m not sure the exact dates of employment, but it seems to mostly be in the winter and mostly on the weekends. This shouldn’t interfere with either farming or teaching and it will allow me to maintain both of those less lucrative careers.

While I will definitely have to practice kicking stuff, I believe I can succeed, so I’m halfway there! Of course, if this doesn’t pan out, I may have to quit teaching since I’m known for my boring—though charismatic—soap box lectures on the think positive theme. However, the second part of the thinking positive strategy is a realistic plan of action and a ton of determination. I’m starting out slowly in order to gain experience and confidence. I’ve begun by kicking things that don’t move. Already, in these early days of my professional punter training, the ruthless determination has become necessary. After kicking a filing cabinet and breaking two toes on my left foot (I’m a lefty), I’m now actively kicking things with my right foot. I’ve decided to put my energy to good use and I’m mostly just kicking my attack barred rock rooster. This isn’t cruel. It is completely in self-defense. The bird runs at me—every time I set foot outside--with his spurs up and his beak aiming for blood. He usually comes back for more when I kick him with my right foot—mainly because I miss him and he thinks it’s funny. But, believe me, when the two toes on my left foot heal, Muddy Farm’s going to be a safer place and I’m gonna’ become a professional football player.