Thursday, May 26, 2011

Time On Our Side

A lot of what a Long Snapper does is behind the scenes. Countless hours of work are put in during the summer in extra snapping workouts and pre practice perfecting our technique and fixing the finest details and movements. Because we (the specialists) do most of our work outside of the allotted practice time, we have a lot of “free time” at actual practice. Don’t get me wrong, when we work, we work hard; but we work hard for a 7 second rep and then stand on the sideline for 40 minutes.
A specialist must be educated on the following topics to keep the conversation up for the 20 some practice hours we are at football a week:
  •  Current events (Who the picture was of on the sports page in the school paper)
  • Classic movies (Dumb and Dumber, Anchorman, etc.)
  • New movies
  • Reality TV (this is a big one, but more on that in future posts)
  • Girls (90% of conversation)
  • Whats happening on Facebook
  • Whats happening on Twitter
  • What other positions on the field we would not be good at (turns out its all of them)
  • Celebrity gossip 
  • Your text conversations with Rubio (“the #1 authority in Long Snapping”)
  • Touch down dances we will never get to perform
  • The girls in your classes
  • How bad it sucks that we are only Long Snappers
  • How much it rules that we are only Long Snappers
  • Call of Duty
  • The reasons why we need to be famous
  • Where we are going for the specialist dinner on Thursday night after practice
  • High school glory days of sports (long gone)
  • Weekend plans 
  • What happened over the weekend
  • Why we need to be on The Real World, Bachelorette, Bachelor, Coach Hope's TV show
  • Random facts (for example: what is the state bird of Texas?)
  • Wondering if people know the tattoos they get now will last forever
  • The girls that looked at you during that day
During down time, I recommend trying to become more versatile. And by that I mean, try some kicking, punting and holding. Why not? We’ve got the time. Aside from being the Long Snapper, I’ve also got my eyes on the back up onside kicking job.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Life Of A Long Snapper

The life of a Long Snapper is not an easy one; there are many draining and arduous tasks. If you were to combine the life of Jedi, the walk across Middle Earth to Mordor and Odysseus' Odyssey, you would then be able to get a sense of what a Long Snapper goes through. Being a long snapper is a lot more than snapping balls, it is a way of life. Most of us are, by no measure, D1, D2 or D3 athletes; we just have an incredible knack for snapping balls backwards between our legs, backwards and upside down. Having been said we need to rely on more than our athletic ability to get by in our daily "grind" (as the kids are calling it). We, as Long Snappers, are not going to be the players in the weight room that are repping out 405 on the bench; we are the guys at the team picnic that are impossibly good at Corn Hole. We are the guys at the city gym draining 3's but barely slapping the backboard in two line layups before the game.
Confidence is a Long Snapper's #1 weapon. We have to know that we are going to put the ball on the correct hip laces up 15 yards back in .75 seconds then painfully try to run down the field and hopefully get there in time to slap our teammates helmet who made the tackle before they run off the field (not because we just made a great play, but because the TV cameras are on the play makers. Long Snappers, especially walk-on Long Snappers need to learn how to maximize their TV time). Here is another tip for all of you Long Snappers out there, if you get the chance to down the football in a game, do it. The camera follows the ball, just sayin.
A little bit about me for both of the people who are going to read this:
I was born Kevin Bernard Ballinger. I am the youngest of 5 kids and only Ballinger (besides my mom) to not have their picture hanging in the halls of Bluffton High School for athletic achievement. I am 6'3" 230lbs and wildly unahtletic. I have never beat my brother Adam in a game of basketball and I've only beaten my brother Dave once (10-3). If I were a professional baseball player, my at-bat song would be this magical song and if I were a relief pitcher, I would sprint from the bullpen to the mound with the crowd singing along to this litte diddy. I enjoy a good mustache and will take anyone to school when arguing the fact that Larry Bird is the greatest to ever lace up.