So you might remember last year about this time, I went to Home Depot for some marking paint to line out a little football field on my property for the kids to run around on over the Thanksgiving break.
I don't have sons, I have two lovely daughters.
They like football... okay. I suppose.
I try, believe me. But they are a tough sell.
Luckily I have nephews who are football loving boys under the age of 15, so that was enough of an excuse.
As fortune would have it, last year a bunch of other (unrelated) kids staying at a neighbor's house as out of town guests, went walking down the gravel country road that runs behind my house - actually LOOKING for a football game!
Well then, we sure did have some fun.
My brother-in-law-Todd-who-knows-just-enough-about-current-sports-to-be-very-dangerous, was very helpful in gridding out the NFL logo we painted. The weather was perfect. The weekend ended, and I am sure my lovely wife thought: "Well, that's that."
Aw, hell no. Not with this balding, overweight, 44 year old kid.
My mind started turning immediately.
Hmmm.... what if I regraded that little marshy bog that is in the middle of this open area? What if I re-seeded in the spring with some quality turf-type tall fescue? What if I got some PVC pipe and rigged up some scaled down goalposts?
Well, here we are, one year later.
You'll excuse me if I dab a moist tear from the corner of my eye.
Now, I just need those kids to come walking by again next week. If they do, I think I can say with some confidence: they are going to SHIT themselves.
The grass is in pretty decent shape for Season 1. It got a late seeding in the spring (May 1st) and was going well before it hit the summer wall in mid-June and then got very weedy. We sprayed the weeds on September 1st, then overseeded on October 1st.
I feel confident that by Season 3, this patch of grass is gonna be flat out phenomenal.
The goalposts are 15 feet wide, crossbar of 8 feet high, and the uprights about 20 feet above that. Real NFL goalposts are 18'6" wide, by 10 feet high, with 30 feet of uprights.
These DIY posts are stretching the limits of of PVC because the material is just too flexible to permit going much higher. That said, I think this "scaled down" dimension is actually perfect for backyard enthusiasts. Since you and the kids aren't going to be kicking 40-50 yarders, it doesn't make sense to have regulation size posts.
Now, what has me MEGA excited, is that the boys at Midwest Metal Warehouse - proud sponsors of "Sports with Steve Czaban" on Bob and Brain up in Milwaukee - insisted on whipping up a set of aluminum goalposts with the same dimensions.
When those puppies arrive I will take and post a very proud picture.
The field dimensions are as follows:
Length: A "fake" 100 yards, consisting of 8-yard increments, with 8 yard deep endzones. (You probably noticed there is only 3 hash marks between each 5 yard line).
Width: 30 yards. (Regulation is 53 1/3. )
Ideally, I would have loved to go 40 yards wide for an 80x40 field of play (plus endzones), which would be a nicely scaled down 80% regulation gridiron.
But the dimensions of my property just didn't allow it.
That said, I think this size field is really good for weekend play. It IS big, and you get damn tired running around. But because it's not regulation, the scope doesn't overwhelm you as a frumpy old man.
I used a string line with industrial nails, plus a 300' outdoor measuring reel tape to measure out the lines. I bought a cheap aerosol driven line striper for about $150 on-line. (Did you know professional field stripers can go for $3,000 or more! That would have been divorce territory!)
The numbers and hash marks were made by ordering some field stencils from an on-line athletic supply company. The pylons were about $46 for a set of four.
And I guess I spent about $150 on 3-4 cases of athletic field spray paint.
The NFL shield logo was done like last year. By gridding out an area with string, and then printing the logo on corresponding graph paper. I should have taken photos, but you get the point.
People have already asked me: "How come you didn't do the Redskings logo??
Look at it.
That might be the hardest logo to replicate in the damn league. I might wait a few seasons before trying to tackle that one. Next year, however, I think I might tackle the ol' Green Bay Packers "G".
Somebody else: "How about the Dallas star?"
Me: "Not on your fucking life."
So there we are. The only thing left is to sell PSL's for the grassy hillside above the 40 yard line. What do you think I could get for that?
And for you whipper snappers out there... THIS is Ray Kinsella...