Wednesday, October 1, 2014

How Impatient Are Little Kids?

Last weekend, I visited my parents' house and my young cousin Neil challenged me to a game of NCAA Football* on Xbox. I accepted, fully expecting my classy Notre Dame team to get throttled by Neil's degenerates from West Virginia University.

*It doesn't matter what edition of NCAA Football, because I hadn't played a sports video game since FIFA 2009.

I elected to receive the ball first, and Neil attempted an onside kick to start the game. Of course. Because he's 11.

After I recovered the onside kick and secured great field position, I figured Neil would turn up the heat on defense. Maybe I'd score a field goal. I ran the ball up the middle for a few first downs before executing a 20-yard screen pass that embarrassed his blitzing defense and allowed me to waltz into the end zone.

"Why didn't you pass it deep?" Neil asked incredulously.

I wanted to respond that I didn't pass it deep because I'm not 11 and am therefore smart. He was blitzing like crazy, so I used that to my advantage. But I didn't tell him that because I wanted to keep winning.

After all, Neil would surely be lethal on offense. I figured his West Virginia attack would resemble the high-powered Mountaineers of Geno Smith and Tavon Austin. Sure enough, on his first play, Neil burnt me on a 30-yard pass. But after that, I dropped a few extra guys back into coverage and started to shut him down. Because, again, I'm not stupid like 11-year-olds are.

Neil was baffled by my defensive play selection, as well. "You should blitz more," he said. "Run a goal line defense so you can get more sacks." Clearly, Neil was willing to concede tons of big plays for the chance to make one of his own.

As I've alluded to, it didn't take me long to figure out the pattern in Neil's play-calling:

  • Offense: Hail Mary or Deep Post; No Running Plays
  • Defense: Blitz Everyone, Every Time

When I had built a comfy 31-0 lead, I finally felt free to talk some smack. "Haven't you ever played video games before?" I asked him. "Is West Virginia really that bad, or is it you? I think it's you."

Neil scored once to avoid the shutout, but I still cruised to a 41-7 win. Cue the fight song:

I'm sure Neil is better at video games than I am. What it comes down to is patience versus impatience. Since Neil has lived for such a short time, every portion of his life seems more urgent. His performance in NCAA Football just confirmed what we already knew: Little kids want to cut lines, run down hallways, and throw it to the end zone every time. Little kids are stupid. Little kids don't know any better.

Is it weird that I kind of envy that?

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  1. Wow,so true. If 11 year olds can teach us anything, it's that we should throw it deep on first and 10 more often in life.