I'm going to un-retire from football. This year I will return to camp for the South Milwaukee High School Rockets.
No doubt this announcement leaves you scratching your head-- how on earth can a 33-year-old guy play high school football again? But there's a precedent right here in front of us, and it's stealing broadcast time from the Brewers' pursuit of the NL pennant every night. Yes-- this whole Brett Favre un/retirement saga has really had me thinking lately. I understand exactly what Brett's going through, and let me tell you, it's inspiring. His latest bout of wrestling with himself in determining whether to play on or retire? It truly speaks to me as a former player and high-school coach.
You see, when you're involved with football, about mid-July of every year you start to feel the pull of the season. The grass smells different. The air feels somehow.. energized. There's a feeling in your bones that associates this time with the game. It's a kind of combined emotional and muscle memory that says you should be waking up at the crack of dawn and heading out to the field while the mists off Lake Michigan are still cooling the atmosphere, when there's still dew on the grass and the summer heat and humidity haven't quite kicked in yet. It grows less with every year away from the game, but it's always there.
Because of this shared memory, I can see where Brett is coming from. He's been playing football-- it's been part of his life-- longer than all but a few men in the sport's history. He's gotten that same feeling I used to get, that I still get really, even if I haven't paced a sideline as player or coach at any level in almost four years. So I'm going to do what Brett has done. I'm going to un-retire from football.
The following outlines a point-by-point plan for how I'll emulate Brett and scratch my itch to play football again:
1. THE DECISION
Brett Favre - Told coach Mike McCarthy and GM Ted Thompson that he wants to play again.
Rich Wood - My first move is to call up SMHS Head Coach John Galewski and tell him he's got a new starting right guard. In Favre's case, this ploy was met with shaking heads and looks of consternation, but I know Coach Galewski would welcome me back. I can probably still squat more than any of his starting linemen, and my Wonderlic score is off the charts. Things might get a bit rocky in the locker room when I find out that I'm blocking for the sons of my high school classmates, but all I have to do is get an iPhone and I'll be the most popular kid on the team.
2. THE RIVAL
Brett Favre - Spurned by McCarthy and Thompson, Favre carries on numerous cell-phone conversations with the Minnesota Vikings.
Rich Wood - If Galewski won't take me back, my next call goes not to perennial rival (and similarly purple-garbed) Cudahy but to Oak Creek. Alas, I may be a few years too late for OC-- when the Oak Creek football program was recruiting kids from across Milwaukee County and as far as Oklahoma, I doubt they would have shied away from bringing in a 33-year-old guy if he could help them win on the field. Shoot, I'd even be able to buy my own creatine, which would have helped out their budget a little. Now it may be a different regime there today, but they're still my first option.
3. THE OUTSIDE ARBITRATOR
Brett Favre - Unable to gain release from his legally binding contract with the Packers, Brett calls in NFL Commisioner Roger Goodell to help facilitate a mutually agreeable solution.
Rich Wood - If for some reason I still can't join a team, I call in South Milwaukee's retired Athletic Director, Jim Teff. If you played ball at SMHS when Mr. Teff was in office, you know there's nothing the man can't do. Once I convince him to state my case with current administration, I'll have my starting spot back in no time.
Brett Favre - We have yet to see exactly how Brett's going to handle training camp with his new team (or the Packers, for that matter), but you can rest assured of two things: 1) There'll be a media frenzy, and 2) He'll get plenty of time off to rest his arm.
Rich Wood - If there's any kind of media frenzy when I start practicing with the Rockets again, I'll seize the opportunity to get my wife that gift she's always wanted: An autographed picture of myself with Tim Van Vooren of FOX-6 and his awesome mullet. The time off to rest will come in handy, too, as I try to keep my consulting career afloat between practices.
5. THE SEASON
Brett Favre - Peter King of Sports Illustrated, a trusted Favre confidant, has just published an article in which he admits to serious doubt about Favre playing for anyone this season-- unless someone's starting QB gets hurt. The way the Packers are playing their cards just makes it that unlikely. The reality of today's NFL doesn't allow for fairy-tale comeback stories. There's just too many numbers and egos involved.
Rich Wood - Hmmm. So even Brett's got to take a reality check? I guess that means I should too....
Too bad. I was starting to look forward to beating on Muskego again.