I feel bad for young kids trying to play quarterback. From this point forward: How’s anyone going to ever achieve what that man in Tampa Bay has done over the past two decades? Best anyone can hope for is to shoot for second best — Montana, Elway, Favre, Rodgers, Brees, Roethlisberger, the Mannings, Marino, Bradshaw, Staubach, Jackson or Watson — take your pick.
I know, I know. Someone’s bound to say, “That’s a terrible thing to sell to a kid; that they can’t be the best.”
Until further notice, that’s the new normal.
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Think of all the heady, rifle-armed, physically gifted QBs from this area —Ronnie Fouch, Dylan Wheatley, Nathan Martinez, Jayden Daniels, John Fouch (Ronnie’s dad), Kaleb Hayes, Jordan Pachot, Nate Meadors, Armando Herrera, you name the guy — and figure this:
On their best days, they were all shooting for No. 2.
Sad to say, any of ’em would fall short of the former New England Patriots’ shooter.
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Better to shoot for something far simpler.
Be a tackle or a nose guard.
Leonard Fournette will retire someday as a running back.
Placekickers, punters, kickoff return specialists, long snappers; tell your kids they’d be far better off just choosing one of those positions.
That guy taking Tampa Bay’s snaps can’t do it by himself. Someone’s got to catch the passes. Someone’s got to knock those passes down.
Play QB? Good luck.
Not even world-beater Patrick Mahomes could come close.
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Final thought: Someone’s got to play QB on all these high school teams. Right?
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Someone’s saying, while reading this, “C’mon. It’s like telling a sprinter to try something else because they’ll never be Usain Bolt.”
Or a swimmer that they can’t match Michael Phelps.
Another Hank Aaron?
Okay. I’ll retract a little of all that. Not much, though.
Tom Brady got to me the other day. No one else can … (I’ll let readers finish that thought).
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Speaking of Hank Aaron, though:
In connecting with Tim Mead, the Highland product who’s now in charge of baseball’s Hall of Fame as its president, one of his first connections was to sit next to Hammerin’ Hank at the 2019 banquet.
“A man of that status,” Tim told me three days after he announced this year’s inductees at zero, “is someone to just listen to.”
“You talk to him about how the game has changed, his perspectives.”
A lot of topics were covered, Mead recalled. The minor leagues and major league ball parks. Hitting at different teams’ ball parks.”
Mead, who worked public relations for years as a Los Angeles Angels’ official, knows where that scent leads. He knows just how to ask a question. Man’s a good listener, too, the mark of a PR man.
“The fan base was different. Society’s different. That’s a special generation.”
Mead sat at the same table with Aaron, plus Hall of Fame pitchers Gaylord Perry and Bert Blyleven, plus former cCommissioner Bud Selig.
Aaron, of course, should be the center of attention.
“I had some specific things to talk with him about,” said Mead. “You find out from a legend just where the evolution of the game was all about.”
When Aaron died last month, Mead said, “We lost a special man.”
Mead threw this in: Over a 292-day period that ended with Aaron’s death, a couple handfuls of Hall of Famers were lost. Rattling off those names — Bob Gibson and Lou Brock, Phil Niekro and Whitey Ford, Al Kaline and Tom Seaver, Don Sutton and Tommy Lasorda, plus Joe Morgan.
The San Gorgonio graduate made sure not to overlook any of those men, each of whom he’s had a chance to share thoughts and ideas — same as with Aaron.
It’s just that Aaron’s presence was lifted a little higher.
The Hall of Fame, says Mead, brings out “a little bit of your childhood and your youth disappears.”
On Aaron, he said, “Everything you hear about him, or read about him, is true. Everything he did was magnificent.”
(Got a sports tip? Want to chat about sports? Contact me at email@example.com)