GO FER DA BOMB!

Watching the New York Jets lose in overtime yesterday to the Raiders I thought back to the days of playing two-hand touch football.

In the past, I have written about Farrell’s football – we can all agree that those teams and games against McBears down Farragut Road were legendary.  The Saturday afternoon practices down P.S. 154 looked tougher than the actual games. (Chime in Jack and Corrado).

Intramural football at Holy Name was very popular too.

But what about playing in the streets?

4 on 4, 5 on 5, heck, even 2 on 2 with the official quarterback.

Do kids still play touch football in the street?

Fuller Place, the boys and girls schoolyard, 9th avenue, 16th street, Windsor Place…we played everywhere!

I carry a football with me in the backseat of my Honda Accord.  When I see kids standing around doing nothing, I pull out the pigskin and toss it to them.  I even bring it to basketball practice on occasion and have the guys run routes.

Last week Mary, Taylor and I went to a huge supermarket in our town for some grocery shopping and I brought the football along.

As we were going from aisle to aisle, Taylor and I had a catch.

“Go deep!” I told her as she started running to the frozen pizza aisle and turned around.  A stock person smiled.

I proceeded to hit her with a bullet – great catch! I felt like Terry Bradshaw hitting Lynn Swann.

We received some funny looks from shoppers and employees; but I was like,  ‘screw ’em’!

They had a Wii demonstration in the electronics section so naturally Taylor wanted to join in on the fun.  She tossed me the ball and walked to where the crowd had gathered.   I noticed this kid around Taylor’s age holding onto his mother’s cart about 4 aisles away – they were slowly approaching.   Earlier, he had noticed Taylor and I having a catch as we walked in the store and was visibly intrigued.

Just like a NFL QB and Wide Receiver on Sunday,  all it took was eye contact; I cocked my arm back in his direction and he stepped away from his mom’s cart and I hit him with a perfect spiral – right past a curmudgeon carrying a loaf of bread under his arm.

“Hey, watch it with that”, the guy said.

“Relax pops, we’re just having fun.” I replied as I launched a floater over his bald dome.

The kid and I continued our catch back and forth as his mother price checked some cans of tuna fish.

Taylor was a few feet away enjoying the wii, totally oblivious of our new friend.

Remember being out with your friends playing two-hand touch? Line of scrimmage (you would spit on the ground, rub a line with your sneaker to indicate where the ball should be marked)  One guy (or girl) would count, “one-one thousand, two-one thousand…”.

At the sound of “hut” receivers would run out.  One would go behind a car, one would go deep, the other would run a button hook.  On defense you would cover your assigned man and go for the interception, the rusher would chase after the QB.

I miss the days of two-hand touch!

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14 Responses to GO FER DA BOMB!

  1. Jerry Cole says:

    Steve,

    I definitely loved playing two on two. especially, on Windsor Place. Jimmy Mackay and I had tons of battles with kevin Maloney & Bill Mackay. Kevin had a great arm and Billy had the height. Still with foot speed in our favor Jimmy and I stole our fair share of games. Those were great fun and it always seemed as if the games lasted for hours. Games on 10th Ave between Windsor & Prospect were more fun as you could add a few more bodies and had more room to maneuver, unless there was a hockey game going on at the time.

    No one plays touch in the streets down by the shore nor do they play stickball or whiffle ball. Everything is too scripted. This rec league, this traveling team, this school team. Actually, I’d prefer to see more kids being kids and playing in the streets.

  2. hoopscoach says:

    JC,

    I recall those games you had in the streets. We’d sit on Cullen’s stoop and watch.

    I think kids should play two-hand touch in the street!

  3. jim vackner says:

    Hoops,
    One thing about today.. people are more protective of their cars now. My kids were playing with a nerf football about 10 years ago and one of the neighbors told them to stop.. It was like high noon between me and the neighbor meeting in the middle of the street.. There was no yelling.. I told them you grew up in Queens, ya never played ball in the street.. why ya chasing my kids playing with a nerf ball… Finally I told him I would have my kids move up a bit but they are playing in the street .. he has no jurisdiction.. The schoolyard by me has kids playing ball without adults.. on the way walking home, I slow down and watch and sure enough some kids just jump at you how athletic or smart they are with the ball…
    To be honest, the way new cars are built, I would not let my kids play football in the street.. ya’d hit an old Nova with a bullet pass and nothing would happen to the car .. now there would be a dent in the side panel!!..

  4. Bill LaVasseur says:

    I remember playing stickball and football on 10th Ave between 17th and 18 St. Usually five on five in football against a bunch of other kids from other blocks in the neighborhood or the older guys. We used to dive on the floor, slide and pop right back up. First downs were the sewers then we painted yard markers up and down the whole block. If I did any of that today I would be in the Methodist. Stickball was great, spaldeens from Rays & Ottos for 25 cents. Do they even make spaldeens anymore? We used to play 17th street guys in stickball, Nicky Guido and one of the Plantamura’s; I think his name was Tommy. The guy could hit a ton, almost to Prospect Ave from 18th St. Good times

  5. jim vackner says:

    Billy,
    Tommy was a good athlete. He was one of those guys that were a little awkward but are real good players. His older brothter John was a good catcher in baseball and could hit
    also…
    You guys went all out with football. I think on Windsor (7th and 8th) , we played two sewers and you had to score in 4 downs…

  6. A.Purdy says:

    The best game was “Swift” down in PS 154 Schoolyard…

  7. hoopscoach says:

    AP,

    You could be right…Glenn was one of the best at that. How was Frankie the Ace?

    Also, we played a game in the girls schoolyard, ‘Double-Wall’. which was a hit (no pun intended) with everyone!

  8. jim vackner says:

    Hoops,
    Doulble Will was great. Swft must have been after me..

  9. Larry Maloney says:

    Two-hand touch! If we weren’t playing hoop, we were playing football in the street. The league after school in the yard was the best. I remember were were a younger team – but with Charlie Alberti at QB and me, Sam Rutigliano, and Pat Mulholland running routes, we beat them all. Charlie would put them there, we just had to hold on !!!

  10. Jerry Cole says:

    Billy,

    Hope all is well with you and the family. We still need to try and get together some night. Maybe me, you, Jimmy Vack and Rich F. and anyone else interested can start looking at some dates perhaps in November.

    By the way, you really had some great, hard-nosed ballplayers in that neck of the woods.

    When we were cleaning out my mom’s house on Windsor Place I came up with a box filled with old Power Memorial and Iona memorabilia. Including the program from when we won the Olympic Invitational CHSAA Mile Relay for Power as well as a box filled with all of my HS and College medals. I brought them back to Jersey with me and every so often I look through the box and remember when……

    One of my favorite memories of the Armory is about you railing into one of your relay guys that he better had beat me or else. We ended up winning the relay that day and I remmeber you busting my chops pretty good about it. Have you seen the pictures of the new Armory or seen it on TV? It is a World Class facility now. Do you remember the first time you ran there? The old dusty wood and dank & funky smelling track and hallway areas that the place had? The outdated lighting and facilities? How about falling on that track? That was a right of passage wasn’t it? When you fell on the track at the Armory you were lucky if you only came away covered in splinters. Perfecting the lean into a turn on the flat-floor track was an artform.

    Be well!

  11. Bill LaVasseur says:

    Jerry,
    Do I remember the armory? We used to go and practice there once or twice a week during the indoor season. I can’t tell you how many times goofing around during practice and running the hurdles and falling. Splinters everwhere. I have seen the new armory and it looks great; wished I had run there. LaSalle and Power always had a great rivalry.

    Jimmy,
    Yeah we played pretty hard on 10th Ave and you had to get first downs. I think the whole field was 70 or 80 yards. One guy I remember playing who was very good was Henry “Hank” Fifield. (Don’t know if the spelling is correct). The guy wasn’t the fastest but he cut like Charlie Kawas. Kevin Mahoney was their QB who could throw a mile. Hank’s brother Eddie Fifield is a Jersey State Trooper; works with a cousin of an old partner of mine.

  12. Bill LaVasseur says:

    Jerry,
    We should hook up sometime before the holidays. We should try and pick a date ahead of time maybe in the city or the old hood.

  13. Jerry Cole says:

    Bill,

    Would definitely like to do that. Dope me a line at gerard.cole@sourceinterlink.com with some dates that work for you. The city would probably work best for me in terms of meeting up.

    However, I may actually get to Farrell’s this weekend. Sue is a Nurse and is working in Brooklyn and with the marathon shutting things down (specifically the VNB) I may come in with her and then we’ll hang out for a while. Remember when we used to play football in the SITTL and how we had to get acroos the bridge at the crack of dawn regardless of when our game was?

  14. Jerry Cole says:

    Bill,

    Yeah, Hank Fifield was very quick with cuts. Charley Kawas was the master though damn was he lightning quick. All he needed was a slight be of daylight and boom he was gone. Kevin Maloney had a rocket for an arm and playing on your field was great for him because he could really spread things out.

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