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AN ANONYMOUS WISCONSIN LINEMAN SPEAKS OUT

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This important public service announcement is brought to you by the EDSBS Council for Manorexia Prevention.

The words cut. We're "big." We have "big bodies," and that's from our coach. We are "beef," just cold, unfeeling meat for your football machine, I suppose. You would never see a person, just a number on a roster reading "330 pounds." You reduce us to a measurement, but never account for the weight of your words. 

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Do you know how many times I longed to fit in Cozy Coupes as a child? To ride a bicycle without the training wheels flying off helplessly like rockets shot sideways off the spokes? The pants started at husky; our backyard slides sat hopelessly bent and useless after one use.  We might have dreamed of being dancers, even, but the hippopotamus only gets to do the Dance of the Hours in Disney movies, right?

We might have gone to see Billy Elliott alone, and cried in the back row daring someone to notice. You probably thought we were just sad because we were out of popcorn, and in truth, we might have been. But that was not the only reason for the tears, even though we did finish the popcorn fifteen minutes into the film because it was delicious, and because sorrow is its own unending, insatiable hunger.

Would it kill you to mention our coordination? Our quick hands? Our intelligence in adjusting blocking schemes, or to notice our speed downfield without laughing during the play? 

Must you yell "FAT GUY TOUCHDOWN?" after every rare moment when we, we neglected happy few, actually get to touch the ball and score the touchdowns we so quietly earn for others without complaint? Even in our moment of glory, your comedy pollutes our triumph.

We will do our job Saturday, but know that we, too, are more than beef. We are the fluffy bun of intelligent construction that keeps the hamburger together. We are the pugnacious tomato providing the acidity to balance the mayonnaise; indeed, we are even the lettuce giving the meal the crunch it needs so desperately.  We are a meal to ourselves, so much more than you make us.  

To deny this is to see a handful of sesame seeds and call it a hamburger, reader. But such is the fate of a lineman: to watch the waiter receive the praise for the perfect meal while the chef toils away namelessly in the kitchen. In the meantime, we will dream quietly of one day of not grunting loudly while sitting down, of fitting one--just ONE!--leg inside a pair of skinny jeans, and of dating a woman who praises our delicate eyelashes, and not our skills at saving money on heating bills in the wintertime by radiating three persons' worth of body heat.

All we ask is to be loved for who we are, and possibly to get our own reinforced bouncy house once because adults were always afraid we would break them as children. If we make the Rose Bowl, please look into getting us one, because that would be really, really cool, guys.

This moment of lamentation is brought to you by the EDSBS Council on Manorexia: telling you that love handles make you sexier, or at least less intimidating to be naked around for women with similar issues since 2007