I watched these kids play football the other day in a small park; I think they were playing football.  They had a brown ball that resembled a football.

I do know one thing, it was terrible.

First of all, no huddle amongst the players.   No cadence (“down, set, hut 1, hut 2…), no plays, etc.   Kids were running out and stopping at random spots on the grass with their arms raised in the air jumping up and down screaming “HERE, HERE, HERE!” (One kid got mad that the QB didn’t throw him the ball so he walked off the field).

Back in the day, I used to love the guy with hand raised in the air who yelled out, “HUDDLE UP!”  His team would crowd around the QB who was usually the brightest player on the field, (or the fastest or even the one with the best arm) and the most vocal/leader would give each guy his play.

“You go five and across.”

“You go down and out.”

“You go ten and turn around.”

“You run a button-hook”

“You run a stop and go.”

“You go to the Station Wagon and run in front of it/behind it.”

“You come around for a fake hand-off!”

After each guy had his assignment, the QB would then say, “ready team…(then all together you’d hear) “BREAK!”

Nope, on this day with these particular youngsters, all I witnessed was kids who didn’t know how to line up at the line of scrimmage; The QB just took the ball off the ground and looked around.    I stood there and watched kids run out and the QB (who had a chicken arm) was just tossing the ball in the air, up for grabs  sorta like a jump-ball, hail Mary type pass.

No defensive guys on the line rushing the QB (like Jack Kelly on the loose after Charlie Kawas), no hiker (I used to love the guys who hiked the ball at Farragut road).  The dude was like a statue!

No throw-offs after a touchdown.  They weren’t even keeping track of  “downs”!

No one  “stayin-in” reciting ‘one-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand…’ with his arms raised high to distract the passer.

Not even a ‘one-Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-Mississippi…’

No blocking or double-reverse flea-flickers.  I didn’t even see the QB take off down field on the run trying to outrun the defenders.  (I think he was playing the role of  “official Quarterback)

When a kid did catch a pass, which wasn’t very often, the defense didn’t attempt to go after him on the completion to try to attempt the ever famous  “two-hand” touch!  They just stopped.  The guy who caught the ball wouldn’t even run with the ball!

I wondered to myself where the goal line was? Were they even keeping score?  Did they know they could go for extra points?(QB runs it in for two points, a pass completion gets you one).

What I watched the other day wasn’t football!  I don’t know what it was to tell you the truth.  Actually, maybe it was Rugby? Speaking of Rugby, a very tough sport I might add – how come Holy Name never had a Rugby team?


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  1. mrsportman says:

    There Kids thou.
    Give them a break 🙂

  2. hoopscoach says:

    Mr. Sportman,

    I gave them a break. I would say, “good catch”, when a kid made a catch – (I recognized the good play). Don’t take my post to be offensive; just stating one I witnessed. Thanks for stopping.

  3. I remember meeting Charlie Kawas and his brother and sister near Seeley Street. Charlie was part of the Huns in the 60’s. Charlie found out that he and I shared the same heritage. Actually, my first cousins were his first cousins as well. My dad’s sister was his dad’s sister-in-law. After the connection was discovered, his sister would greet me with, “Hey, Cousin!”.

  4. jim vack says:

    On Windsor, we did not have extra points.. but the tags gave new meaning to touch tackle. Once in a while we would go to Prospect Park and play tackle and that was a blast.. Timmy Horan was a great receiver… fast anfd great hands.. we played together in a bar league in Greenpoint.
    At Cathedral, Father Tom Brady (brother of the late columnist James Brady) was also the Fire Chaplin. He would invite the firemen over on a Saturday and we would have some great games with those guys and afterwards pig out on burgers and dogs….

    • hoopscoach says:


      Holy Name intramurals! Extra points galore! You kidding? John Cain and I ran the option when we played for the Chiefs. The dude was a speed demon and he would take over the QB spot for PAT’s – everyone in the yard knew he was running it! TWO POINTS if you ran it in…

  5. Jerry Cole says:


    Ruby barely existed in the city. Aside from Xavier where Chief’s brother played I do not recall another local high school that had a team. X was then and still is very good.

    I palyed rugby for two yeqars at Iona but I stopped when Soccer moved to Division 1. I enjoyed the game and the rugby team always had incredible socials. We traveled to away games 6-7 to a car. Played the games and attended the “social” and still somehow made it home safely. The good Lord certainly watched over us. Games in the fall were always pretty evenly matched but come spring lots of teams (Columbia, Army, etc.) loaded up with guys that were primarilly football palyers. The hitting was definitely much harder during the spring season.

    FYI, each season they held the Metropolitan Championship over at Randall’s Island. When I played, the tourney was sponsored by Old Grandad. We finished 2nd when I was a Soph losing the championship to Army. Those guys were TOUGH! We were very quick but they were very strong and eventually they wore us down and won the game late.


    • Ken Madden says:


      Was reading your note before I saw your name. As I was reading I thought it sounded very familiar then I looked at the name.

      How are you doing? Good to hear of you. All is well with me.

      Keep in touch.

      Ken Madden

  6. Kenny Whelan says:

    I played Rugby for a couple of years at SUNY Cortland. Since I am not a fast runner, I played in the middle of the scrum. I agree with Jerry that the road “socials” were a blast. We went on a spring break trip to Tennessee and Alabama one year. They always wanted to hear the guy from Brooklyn talk.
    Howie Bischoff also played rubgy (can’t remember who he played for).

  7. Michael Mardini says:

    Kids dont know how to ‘play’ today even if its just 2 or 3 of them. How do expect them to organize a football game?! Heck…there was whole ‘society’ built around all of us organizing the sports we all played. You knew your place. If you were fast or could throw or pitch, were involved in every play. If you werent ‘gifted’, you knew it. You were picked near last and were happy to play and contribute to your side winning.
    Coach– what you witnessed, unfortunately is the norm today. Sad.

  8. Kevin Mahoney says:


    Good to see your name. How have you been? How’s Dave doing these days?

  9. Michael Mardini says:


    I’m doing well. You still around the nabe? I’d love to catch up. I visit mom almost every Saturday. Send me an email

  10. Michael Mardini says:

    Everybody is cool. Robin is in Brooklyn. Dave is still in Miami livin the dream. Mom is still there! I want to meet you in front of Red’s! I’ll buy the sodas.

    • hoopscoach says:


      Dave is living the dream in Miami? Is he playing 2nd base for the Marlins? Point guard for the Heat? OT for the Dolphins? Robin was always cool…In front of Red’s huh? Still shoes there but I think it’s called something else now. What about Suheil? He still have the cab?

  11. Richard Coyne says:

    Hey Mike Mardini!
    I believe we chatted about 10 years ago. How have you been? I’m now living in Biloxi, Mississippi, working for the Veterans Administration, and YES! I’m still in the military. Served 2 tours in Iraq, and am scheduled to deploy again next October. My brother rob is doing fine, he lives in LA.
    Glad to hear David, and Robin are doing well. Give me a call sometime (228) 243-4247, or shoot me an e-mail I hope to be going back up to NYC in the next few months. Would be interesting to link up!!!!! Take Care!!

  12. Brooklin says:

    Kids play sports today like its an activity or play date. It seems that there are more choices for kids today and playing sports is just one of those things. When we were growing up we did not have many opportunities and when we played a sport it was everything to us. We played with a team and played around the team practices for we wanted to excel at that particular sport and keep improving. We took it home with us watching games and cheering on our favorite players.
    I remeber the first team I ever tried out for and made. Holy Name Bantam B Basketball with coaches Nicky Canella and Georgie Routhier. I remember taking a layup and hopping while dribbling. This was a weekday 3:30 pm practice in a packed HN schoolyard. Canella called me ‘hoppitee hop”. I was so jacked up and sky high in just making a team. I fell completely in love with the game of hoops. I played and played as I grew older. It got to the point today where I will need a knee replacement soon. I don’t care for I loved so much to play the game and have no regrets for I would not change a thing if i could go back all over again. We had pride back then and wanted to get better. We worked on our games and tried to earn it. Today rather than meet a challenge and improve themselves, kids would rather quit something and move on to something else if the instant results and gratification is not there.

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