Over here, that means something different, but since the great Tom Paulson’s care package arrived, it can mean what ol’ Hank Williams Jr. meant it to mean.
The past few weeks, like a fumble-happy college running back, I’ve been carrying with me an American football. Needless to say, it’s aroused some curiosity. I’ve gotten a few questions about the rules, but the more or less unanimous response is: I don’t understand.
I was mainly just itching to play catch with someone, but most people’s curiosity doesn’t dare exit the teacher’s lounge. I did force my group of tenis cu piciorul players to toss it around one night. After a few amusing attempts at trying to throw this strange, oblong object, they were fully content to toss it aside and get back to rounder, more familiar pursuits.
However, one of the charms of working with children who haven’t quite made it to high school is that they’re still grasping at least a small bit of their childhood eagerness to try something new and not care how it looks. So yesterday, Tulgheș’ first-ever English Club-American football game took place on a beautiful, sunny afternoon.
I explained things slowly, step by step, using a lot of motions. We were going to play two-hand touch with an all-time quarterback (me). Once we picked sides and kicked off – perhaps the part that came the most natural to them – what unfolded in the opening seconds was something that resembled a combination of one part rugby, two parts chaos.
The ballcarrier took off, then tossed it to someone else, who tossed it to someone else, who tossed it to someone else, who tossed it to someone else, until that person was finally tackled, stripped of the ball, then the whole process repeated itself, again, and again. All the while, I’m choking out “STOP!” while laughing.
Step by step, though, we got there, sort of. First they understood not to throw it to each other like in rugby. Then they understood that after an incomplete pass, the play is over. Then they finally got the two-hand touch thing (even though there was still a fair amount of tackling happening after the play). And last of all, they got the idea of four downs and a turnover on downs. All in all, for 45 minutes' worth of play, I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly proud of them.
One of my fifth graders – a sweet kid who played in a suit – summed up the day in Romanian: “Are we going to play again next week? That was cool, really cool.”
Now, I know we can’t do this every week in English club, but I hope to figure out another afternoon to play, perhaps once a week. More on that later. But for now, let’s do a little “Tulgheș Bowl 2011: By the Numbers.”
· 18: total players
· 10: gametime temperature (in Celsius)
· 0-3: total crowd attendance at any given time
· 3-6: amount of times I had to yell “stop” each play to keep them from clotheslining the ball carrier after he or she had already been touched down
· 6-1: final score (didn’t feel it necessary to explain the real scoring)
· 0: amount of injuries (SUCCESS!)