Friday Night Tykes

In Texas, football is everything—even among 12-year-olds:

“‘Celdon is the best eleven-year-old football player in America,’ Ronnie Braxton, his trainer, told me. ‘In America.’ Celdon isn’t the first youth football player to inspire that kind of claim. But when he hit the pile, his powerful legs churning furiously as he wormed his way through the defenders, the assessment seemed indisputable. As the referees pulled everyone off the pile and found Celdon lying in the end zone, his teammates began hopping up and down, and one of the grandmas in the stands rang a cowbell, and the Hawks cheerleaders—yes, the Hawks have cheerleaders—shook their metallic red-and-black pompoms, and the sound system that Coach Engel had rigged up with two car batteries and an ice chest began pumping out triumphal music, and I abandoned journalistic objectivity to throw my arms in the air and cheer until my throat hurt. How does it feel to watch a running back from the best preteen football team in the most football-mad city in Texas exert his will? It’s so beast.”

Source: Texas Monthly
Published: Jan 1, 2013
Length: 34 minutes (8,699 words)
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