I realize this may not be the most sportsmanlike statement I can make, but I'm not going to lie. I hope the Hannibal Pirates absolutely destroy (in football terms) the Jeff City Helias football team in the playoff game tonight. Yes, this is tied to a personal vendetta that I have that dates all the way back to high school.

I was a Hannibal Pirate by the way. Born and raised. When I played football as a freshman, we were undefeated. The next year, we traveled to Jeff City for a game. I remember when our bus pulled up to the stadium, there were practice fields of 5-year-olds in full pads practicing. That was not a good sign. In Jeff City, they practically put kids in pads as soon as they leave the womb.

In the game, our previously undefeated team was shredded 45 to 14 I think it was. Forgive me if I'm a little hazy, but in that game I had my bell rung...severely.  When I played for Hannibal, I was a wide receiver.  Without getting technical, we had a play where I was supposed to run down and distract the cornerback so he would chase me across the middle of the field so our running back could be wide open for a bomb down the sideline (where the cornerback used to be).  First time we tried that, the cornerback didn't chase me and our quarterback was sacked.  After the coach spent a good ten minutes helping me understand what a sorry human being I was for not getting the cornerback to chase me, we tried it again.

I made up my mind that I would do whatever it took to get the cornerback to follow me.  So, I decided to trace his ancestry...fully as we ran the play.  This time, he chased me and our running back caught a bomb for a touchdown.  Little did I know, the cornerback would remember every word I said and planned his revenge.

On the ensuing kickoff, I was running down the field toward what I thought was the guy with the ball.  The cornerback (who's family tree I had completely ridiculed) decided to find me.  He blindsided me and the last thing I remember, I saw a blur of a Jeff City jersey with a 45 on it.  Next thing I saw was the team trainer trying to wake me up on the field.

Here's the cartoon version of how that felt:

It's no coincidence that I haven't grown since that game.  My height in 9th grade is my height now thanks to #45 on the Jeff City team.

So, as the Jeff City bus pulls into Hannibal for the playoff game tonight, forgive me if this one is personal for me.  If you're a member of the Hannibal Pirate football team, please beat these guys so bad tonight that they decide to quit football and take up chess club.  It's not gonna make me any taller, but I will consider it personal redemption.  No pressure though.

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