M-ito and his friend K-ito wanted to learn how to play football. M-ito knew nothing about the game and K-ito had a smattering of phrases and terms but no real knowledge of the game. I played eleven years of ball through high school. I figured, how hard could it be? We were at K-ito’s home with a bar-b-q in the backyard heating up, Mom-ita with K-ito’s mom and friends socializingj. M-ito, K-ito and me were in the large front yard (large enough for a game of nerf football) and the boys told me their desire.
“How do you play? The rules,” K-ito asked.
“Yeah,” M-ito added lowering his head. “I don’t know how to play. It’s confusing.”
I took the nerf in hand and tried to explain. “That big tree over there in line with that bush over there, that’s where you want to run the ball into. That’s your end zone where you score a touchdown.”
“Then do you kick the ball?” K-ito asked.
“For extra points, but we won’t do that here. We’ll keep it simple. You run the ball in there you get a point and we’ll play to five.”
“Don’t you get points if you hit the tree with a kick? You know the things that stand up in the air…”
“The goal posts?”
“Yeah. The goal posts.”
“We’ll forget about them for the moment. Just run the ball into the end zone.”
“Then,” Kenny added, “you have to throw the ball onto the ground like this.” He spiked the ball and raised his hands up into the air.
“Okay. We’ll use that. And you’ll have 4 downs -”
“Downs?” M-ito asked.
“Tries, to get the ball into the end zone for a touchdown or a score. Four tires and then I get the ball and try to get into the other end zone, between the pitchback and the bush over there.”
They both nodded but didn’t seem to understand.
“We’ll play touch with two hands,” K-ito said, then demonstrated the technique.
“Right. No tackle. Just two-hand-touch.”
“What’s that mean?” M-ito asked.
“When you’re touched with two hands you’re down and have to stop and try again. You can pass the ball forward but you have to catch it or it’s an incomplete pass.”
“Why?” M-ito asked.
“I don’t know. It’s just the rules.”
“Can we play it’s okay to miss and still score?”
“You mean drop the ball?”
I tried to explain a lateral pass but that didn’t go anywhere so we just kicked off and started.
Sometimes it’s best to just play. It was them against me. Every time we scored we spiked the ball. They allowed me to pass to myself. I taught them the faint and the juke – fake left run right, fake right run left. We got bit up by mosquitos and collected a few grass burns on our knees. Another dad helped me out later and each of the two games the Dad-ditos lost exactly 5 points to 4.