I joined a flag football team once, and it was the worst experience of my life.
It wasn’t because of my athletic ability. I wasn’t because I’ve never been to a school with a football team.
It was because the quarterback was a huge asshole.
I hate to put guys who were in fraternities into a “frat boy” stereotype, but Jerry, the quarterback, was your typical asshole frat boy that you see in the movies.
Only, he wasn’t good-looking.
Jerry made it clear that he didn’t like girls playing (and only threw the ball to us when he was mandated to throw to a girl), made crude jokes about his wife that made me cringe and, if we were losing, he’d get red in the face and start yelling at everyone, which pumps no one up.
I’ve been on a number of adult social leagues, and Jerry was the worst coach ever.
And by worst coach ever, I mean that the game WHERE I SCORED MY FIRST TOUCHDOWN, EVER, I drove home crying because of him.
Let me explain. The entire season was a big ball of frustration.
Jerry routinely paired me up with very tall girls, and I would fruitlessly chase them around the field doing absolutely nothing defensively.
“You’re the fastest girl we have,” Jerry snorted when I asked him about his coaching decision.
“Yea but she’s six feet tall,” I said. “I’m five feet tall. It doesn’t matter if I am in front of her with my arms up jumping up and down, she can easily catch the ball completely over my head. What’s the point?”
He didn’t see the problem, and ignored me.
Then, Jerry exclusively threw the ball to specific players, even if they had four people surrounding them.
All of us girls stood there, a LOT, with no one around us, saying, “HELLO!? HELLO!?” and Jerry ignored us.
Yet, the worst of the worst was when I scored my first and only touchdown.
ME!!! I SCORED A TOUCHDOWN!!
I don’t even know how it happened. I was thrown the ball during a “girl’s turn” and managed to zig-zag my way down to the end zone. ALL! THE! WAY!
I had never done anything like that before, athletically. I was overcome with adrenaline. I felt like the kid from Little Giants.
“AHHHHHH!!!!!” I screamed loudly, spiking the ball like the professionals do.
I then did this classic touchdown dance:
I was so excited that PEOPLE FROM THE OTHER TEAM GAVE ME HUGS AND HIGH FIVES — THAT’S HOW HAPPY I WAS.
Yet, when I went back to my team, only ONE GUY told me congratulations, and it wasn’t Jerry. He wasn’t happy because even with my touchdown, we were still losing.
I was pissed.
“Hey!” I said to him. “Aren’t you going to tell me congratulations? I just scored a fucking touchdown.”
“That’s what you should have done,” Jerry said. “You don’t reward a dog for sitting.”
My jaw dropped. He wasn’t joking.
“AM I SUPPOSED TO BE THE DOG HERE???” I said, furious, embarrassed. God, who talks to people like that???
All my happiness drained. I might as well have gotten the ball fumbled. I walked away to drink my Gatorade alone, forcing back tears.
“I JUST SCORED A TOUCHDOWN!!!” I wailed internally. “AND LOOK HOW I’M BEING TREATED! IN FRONT OF EVERYONE!!”
But then I got really, really angry.
Because, wait a minute….you absolutely reward a dog for sitting. You give it treats.
And OTHER PEOPLE are happy when their players get touchdowns. There’s a whole joke about guys spanking other guys on the asses when they do that! Right??? Right!!!?
Thankfully, we didn’t get into the playoffs, and I was able to quit the team after the next game.
I learned two things from being in that league. One, I will never be on another flag football team ever again.
And two, I will always OVERLY reward dogs for sitting.