Up to about age 3 or so, I was relatively "normal" in size, but that was the last time I could be considered normal-sized, unless it was contextual — normal size for a sumo wrestler, in comparison to Paul Bunyan's nephew, next to a mountain or giant rock formation.
And when I say "large," I don't mean just fat. I've always been a tall kid too. I was tall and big and strong. Which was fortunate for me, I think. Big AND tall is better than just big, especially when you're also strong ... heh. It meant that kids who picked on me, even a couple of grades higher, often got pummeled. I didn't get teased as badly if I had been a stumpy little fat guy.
It also gave me an advantage in sports. It helped that I was naturally athletic, at least as a kid. I was quick, if not fast. I was coordinated. I could throw, catch and hit in baseball. I had a pretty good touch on the basketball court, and could rebound. Height gave me an awesome hook shot that was tough to block.
In dodgeball, I was murder. They forbade me from playing in school after I hit a jumping kid's feet so hard he flipped upside down in the air and fell onto his collarbone, breaking it. But I wasn't just a demon-hurler. I was hard to hit, despite my size. I could jump, duck and dive, and otherwise evade. I could also catch almost anything thrown at me, earning "lives."
In pickup games around the neighborhood, I had to kick with my left foot (I'm right-footed) in kickball or hit as a lefty in baseball (I'm right-handed) just to make things even for the other team. Even then, I still often kicked and hit home runs.
Yes, as hard as it may be to believe, I was THAT neighborhood kid — the top backyard sports star around. I was the top dog when we would roam around to challenge other neighborhood's kids.
That's me in the middle, getting ready to make a catch in practice.The size helped me the most in youth football. I was extremely hard to tackle. A few coaches used me as fullback because of that. I was guaranteed from short distance, especially on the goal line. But I also could snap (play center) block, punt, kick, catch, throw and tackle. The only positions I never played in organized football were wide receiver, cornerback and safety, though I did drop back into pass protection as a linebacker at times.
The only time I was anywhere close to "normal" in football was the two years I played while living in Texas, because Texas is serious about its football. Parents have been known to purposely flunk their children so they could get an extra year of growth on them before heading into junior high.
In 8th grade, we were city champs of the B division, for 8th graders, where I played center, offensive guard and tackle in a pinch, defensive noseguard, tackle and roving middle linebacker, and fullback. I converted every extra point I ran that year and scored a few touchdowns. We were undefeated that year.
The next year, we finish as city champs too — Mann Jr. High Falcons, City Champions of Abilene, Texas. GO BIG RED!! Woo hoo!! I played almost always on the line — both offense and defense, depending on where they needed me. I also was moved to kicker after the coaches watched me hit from 35 yards out time and time again. Was strange to see such a huge kicker ... they're usually the tiniest and skinniest guys. LOL
At the time, I was 14, about 6' tall, and weighed about 300 pounds. I also could bench press about 350 and dunk a basketball. I was a monster! LOL ... (Damn I miss being THAT strong and agile).
I only played on more year — my sophomore year hear in Guam at Simon Sanchez High School. We were the Sharks and had a laid-back coach. On the back of my jersey, instead of my name, was "Great White." I still have guys from other schools come up to me on the streets and say, "Hey! You're Great White!" ... LOL
I dislocated my right shoulder after that season in a stupid fight and it effectively ended my football career, which I had some hopes of extending into college and maybe even the pros. But I couldn't move my arm past a certain angle — my shoulder would dislocate when I put on the shoulder pads — Lord knows what would have happened in real contact.
When I was at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, home of the Huskers (again, GO BIG RED!!!), which lasted an entire year, I was approached by an assistant coach. He asked me if I had ever played organized football. I guess being about 6'5" and huge yet not waddling fat played a role in that. When I said yes, he asked me if I'd be interested in stopping by. I told him my shoulder problem story, but he still seemed to think that if I dedicated myself and got into shape and lifted weights to build my strength that I might be able to make the practice squad, and possibly even work my way up to the team.
I passed. The shoulder was really fucked up, I had to concentrate on my studies and, yes, I was lazy too.
Oh well ... c'est la vie!
Random Guam Fact Of The Day:
• Guam has what amounts to a semi-pro league here, call the Miller Football League, featuring teams sponsored by local businesses and stocked with talented graduates of the local high schools, other residents, and members of the miltary.