There is a price for everything, and these are ours. All prices involve being filmed for consumption on social and streaming media platforms.
TAKING A FIVE STEP DROP AND GETTING SACKED AT FULL GAME SPEED: $7,000
Figuring in emergency room costs, lost work time, and pain and suffering. Seven grand isn’t a lot in the larger scheme of things, but as a conservative sum of the possible damage done, I’d take it. That’d clear off a credit card and pay for a nice weekend away from the kids where I could sip beverages through a straw by a pool. I could also sip my meals through that same straw, because my jaw would be wired shut. EFFICIENCY.
TAKING A HIT ON AN ONSIDE KICK: $10,000
In retrospect, taking a hit from Skorpio Brown at three-quarters speed was a bad idea. Taking it for free was an even worse deal. I’m pretty sure I’m concussed there, and if not concussed then at least just around the corner from it.
The worst part about getting blown over by a semi-professional football player? Besides whiffing embarrassingly on an onside kick catch and remembering an oblong ball bounces way, way more erratically than you remembered? The helmet. The fuzziness from the impact faded quickly. The massive bone bruise and half-inch high lump on my left wrist where the crown of his helmet hit me on the tackle.
Given age and the wide array of things that could have gone wrong but didn’t, the bidding for this starts at ten grand. It is not staying there, either. Onside kick recoveries are beyond violent, and one of the dumbest things in a sport full of dumb things.
TAKING ON A RUNNING BACK IN THE HOLE: $10,000
At the very worst I feel like I could just drop and let the running back trample and/or trip over me. The running back may also simply decide to juke me, which would be fine. The teens will point and yell “EXPOSE HIM”, which is pointless because I come to this game pre-exposed.
Teens, thou cannot roast those whom life has already put in the rotisserie case.
TAKING ON A FULLBACK IN THE HOLE: $20,000
A much worse option than the running back. The fullback does not have the ball here. He is here for contact and contact alone, and avoiding it isn’t an option. If I’m catching an angry hog-man hybrid bent on putting his helmet into my balls for fun, I’m going to need enough cash to pay for a silicone replacement testicle and the surgery required to implant it.
Silicone nut runs about three grand, surgery and time lost probably take us all to around twenty grand. Note: Figure may be revised upward if I equip my replacement testicle with a tiny wireless modem. HACK THE FUTURE.
Proviso: IF fullback in question is prime Lorenzo Neal, THEN off the table, nope.
BEING ON THE FIELD IN REVERSAL OF COURSE FREE RUNNING TYPE SITUATION: $20,000
For example, being the guy blocked into the air by Oregon State’s one and only Lyle Moevao:
The upside of the wager: You escape a brief but terrifying situation without harm by flopping down and avoiding all harm. The downside: Stricken by panic, you stand still as a fainting goat and are immediately blindside headbutted into the next life by a rampaging lineman who weighs a mean 315 on the hoof. (Or worse for the ego: by the goddamn quarterback.)
It is a lopsided either/or, so I’ll need some serious cash in the event that the worst hypothetical becomes the horrible actual.
CATCHING A PASS OVER THE MIDDLE: $30,000
Summer camps for two kids don’t pay for themselves. If I get gunshy at the snap I’ll think about trying to work in the house while they both yell at me about finding a certain Youtube Kids toy unboxing video. No, not that one. NOT THAT ONE DADDY. THIS ONE THAT LOOKS LIKE FIVE HUNDRED OTHERS YOU IDIOT.
Now that I’m thinking about this, I’ll revise to $25,000. Put it in my teeth, free safety, and make it fast.
ROUNDING THE CORNER AS THE QB ON A SPEED OPTION: $44,695 PLUS TAXES AND FEES
There will be no speed, first of all, if I’m running the option in question. Second, defenders reserve extra energy just to hit people on option plays because they all absolutely hate that Three Card Monte-ass shit. Linemen, should I be unlucky enough to meet one on a speed option, especially despite it for making them run. Make linemen run, and they will make you pay for it.
Whether I can actually get the ball out or not — and I assure you, I won’t — I’m going to take a massive, life-altering hit on the play just for running it in the first place. Like, the crown of the helmet to the mouth-type hit that turns my teeth into powder through my mouthpiece. The kind of hit that makes me poop my pants on national television in white pants.
Pooping the pants on national TV should be worth the sticker price of a fully loaded Subaru Ascent, because that is the car I will be driven around in after this. It has captain’s chairs for the kids, and is still anonymous enough to drive around town without people pointing at me and saying “Look, there goes the man who pooped his pants after getting hit playing football on a dare.”
FIELDING A PUNT: N/A
NOPE. Just a big ol’ nope. It is not happening, not at our low-altitude physical peak, and certainly not now.
FIELDING A KICKOFF: N/A
Unless taking a knee is an option: nope, no, nyet, nein, we refuse, non, bu yao, we would prefer not to, hell no, hell to that naw, DECLINE.
TAKING A HIT FROM DERWIN JAMES/SEAN TAYLOR/MATT ELAM/ANY STATE OF FLORIDA SAFETY OR CONTACT-FRIENDLY DB OF NOTE, REALLY: NO
Not for any sum, not at any time. Hard-hitting DBs from the state of Florida have extra calcium in their bones from the groundwater. They are not like you or me. Life is too short, and the pain from this, too, too long to endure.