By Thomas Morrone CFP®, CPA
Before my high school days, I played in the town football league and eventually played on the high school team. I was not a great player and we did not have a great team, but I loved playing the sport. It was not just about the competitive aspect of playing an organized sport but more about the camaraderie of being part of something bigger than myself. You had to learn some basic life skills such as teamwork, communication, discipline, tolerance and pride. You also had to learn to respect your team mates, captains, coaches, fans and the opposing team members. Of course, you had to learn the game of football, understand strategies for both offense and defense and how to execute for your position. I was fortunate in that I had the opportunity to play on both sides of the ball. On offense I played fullback and on defense I played middle linebacker. Both positions took a toll on my body, but I loved every minute. I was not big enough to play in college so high school ball was enough for me.
During my short-lived career, I was fortunate enough to score some touchdowns. Not only did I score but I did so as both a defensive player (interception, pick six) and as an offensive player as a running back. The thrill of getting into the end zone, scoring a touchdown and spiking the ball never got old. If you are a football fan at any level, you know that spiking the ball in the end zone by players is a tradition. Over the years though, this quick celebration by the player has evolved into something all-together different. Sure, there are high fives, chest bumps, spinning the ball like a top, and group celebrations. There is also the occasional throw the ball into the stands and jumping into the crowd. Nowadays, touchdowns are sometimes immediately followed by an orchestrated event in the endzone that usually involves all the players. Some that I can recall are the ball spin and the players all sit around the spinning ball like it is a fire and they rub there hands together like they are trying to stay warm. Then there’s the human bowling pins. Another one is the players all sat in a row and pretended like they were rowing a boat and scooted along on the ground. Last week there was the limbo line where the bar was one of the players held by two of his team mates as the players did the limbo under the human bar. One time a player hid a cell phone in the padding on the goal post before the game and after scoring the touchdown he grabbed the phone and called someone while waving to the camera. That one drew a 15-yard penalty. The list goes on and on. In my opinion, there should be some level of celebration when a touchdown is scored. After all, that is the purpose of the game to score points and win. I just feel it has gotten out of control and who knows what will eventually happen the next time a touchdown is scored.
I remember my high school coach. He was tough as nails but a great coach. If a player on his team scored a touchdown and then tried to orchestrate a human bowling pin setup or a limbo line, that player would still be doing laps and pushups. We just did a little spike of the ball, jumped around a little and moved on to play some more football.
Next NFL game that you watch, take note after a touchdown.
Until the next Tom’s Take...