Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Football is like a church pew.

Sid was sitting on two chairs.  They were folding chairs.  I didn't notice at first that he was using two chairs because he was big enough the chairs were pretty much invisible behind him.  Big.  Football big.  He had tried out for the then Houston Oilers and almost made the team.  He had huge hands.  I'm big but my hand disappeared in his when we shook.  He was solid.  Lots of muscle on that huge frame. 

He wasn't all that tall but he was wide. 

Wider than a chair. 

Have you seen those folding chairs with hooks to connect them to each other.  The designers recognized that some people are wider than a chair.  These wide ones might want to move their chair to create more space.  Chair manufacturers seemed to favor discomfort and hooked the chairs together so wide people would just have to tough it out.  Or invade the personal space of whoever was next to them.

Have you ever flown coach class?  Those seats accommodate 145 pounds, max.  Bigget than that and you're uncomfortable.  Much bigger and you're miserable.  As is your neighbor.

But church pews are better.  Church pews don't pre-determine how much space you can use.  They're just one long bench so a big person can take up as much space as he/she desires.  And a small person as little space.  Nowadays pews are even padded for comfort.  That's why I love going to church - that's one place where they accept big people like me.

Football is like a church pew.  Football accepts big people.  If you're a running back, you love big people.  Your big offensive line keeps big defensive tacklers at bay.  In a previous  post I quoted KJ Scheib who said one of the things she loves about football is "they don't ask me to lose weight."  KJ wasn't all that heavy - 220 pounds on a 5' 10" frame.  And she carried her weight very well, was in excellent physical condition.

Which got me to thinking about the problem of being big in this small world.  For guys like me and Sid, it is inconvenient.  Constantly being crammed into too-small spaces.  Like airplane seats, folding chairs, or places at a banquet table - who ever invented rounds of ten?

But for ladies being big comes with all kinds of issues.  Someone somewhere decided that the females should be little.  I mean little - 110 pounds or less.  Tiny.  If you're a bigger woman you are constantly bombarded with negative messages.  You can't pick up a women's magazine that doesn't have some special diet promoted on the cover.  Television ads promote weight loss.  Television shows and movies grant stardom to skinny, derision to large.  Even though many bigger women are in excellent physical condition.  Even though artist Peter Paul Rubens in the 1600's recognized beauty-in-big and created a whole art genre featuring Rubenesque models.  Even though size is a function of genes and DNA, not personal choice.

In a future post I'll introduce you to Derek Heyes, a guy in England who has a unique perspective on the challenges of being big and female.   In this post I just want to comment about how football is just a great place for women of all shapes and sizes.

I don't know the player's names.  Can't find a roster
for that year.  This was a scrimmage at Waco.  Outlaws #64
was occupied with a much larger opponent.  She
appears to be doing fine but for the other player, being
big is a big advantage. 

Number 64 holding her own against her big opponent.

I like the way the Outlaw is getting low.  Also the way she's getting
help from teammates.  Often the bigger player is effective even
when she doesn't make the tackle, just because she occupies
two or three of the other team's blockers.

I think #65 is tall rather than "big".  But she appears to be a problem
for the Outlaw opposing her.  I need to interview players on both sides
of this subject - how does it feel to play against a larger opponent?
How does it feel to have a size advantage?

KJ with the ball and a whole lot of players trying
to tackle her.  She isn't all that big by the standards
of this posting but she is bigger than her would-be
tacklers.  And very strong.  Often big and strong go
together.  KJ played running back of one season,
then went back to the line where
her size and strength were most valuable.
Bein' big in football is great.  Let's hear it for the larger ladies.

1 comment:

bstenso said...

Thank you for the wonderful blog about the Austin Outlaws and featuring our daughter Toni Fuller (#1). We are proud of her achievements and to have an opportunity to play with an outstanding team.

Your photography is amazing! The captured plays allowed your audience to view imagines the naked eye could miss. Thank you for sharing your hobby with so many!

The Fuller Family