My brother Alex is a football kicker, and yesterday I took him to practice punting. Here’s a fun fact I bet none of you saw coming: I suck at tossing.
“So what do I have to do?” I asked while Alex laced up his shoes. Alex has been playing for years, but he’s a kicker, not a punter, and he had only recently taken up punting, so I had never done this bit before. “Also, when you do this with Mom and Dad, have either of them ever gotten hit?”
“No they haven’t, ye of little faith,” he said. “All I need you to do is toss me the ball. I catch it, you duck out of the way, and I punt. Simple.”
“Like this?” I said, tossing one at him with barely enough gusto to merit calling it a toss.
“More like this,” he said, tossing it back. “Like more vertical. And more spiral. And straighter.”
“So basically the opposite of everything I just did,” I said.
While he stretched, I practiced tossing. I literally just threw a football around on the field by myself while people on the nearby tennis courts watched bemused. And I didn’t get any better. I literally could not fathom how to make it happen. At one point he said, “You have somehow turned one of the simplest things into the world into something excruciating.” The moral of the story here is that I’ve decided to cross “football-tossing” off my list of potential secret talents.