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|Ted Kluck, all decked out in his Under Armour.|
This is why I'm stretching on a swath of turf (feels nice, kinda spongy, like real grass with little chunks of rubber between the blades), getting ready to run a 40-yard dash, a short shuttle (sometimes called the "Jangle") and hurl my body against other guys with a $50 tryout fee and a dream. The dream, in this case, is to earn a place in the professional indoor football food chain -- a spot with the Battle Creek Crunch of the Great Lakes Indoor Football League. While my buddies spend their afternoons at Home Depot, picking out marble countertops, I'm about to see how many times I can lift 225 pounds off my chest. The Great Lakes Indoor Football League is the brainchild of two entrepreneurial brothers from Canton, Ohio, the city that hosted the meetings which resulted in the formation of the NFL in 1920. The GLIFL, in its inaugural season in 2006 (which begins in March), will feature 7-on-7 football played indoors on a 50-yard field. It is a brand of football that has sold well in small to midsized cities across the country -- fans can see real, live, violent pro football, for a fraction of the cost of the NFL experience. The league also hopes to serve as a launchpad for many great athletes who, by nature of the numbers game, don't have the opportunity to ply their trade on the NFL stage. There are several of them here, as well as some on the other side of the fence -- middle-agers or office workers looking for one more thrill. But nobody is getting rich. My agent, Mike O'Brien, who is in the process of signing first-round prospects for this year's NFL draft, will make a commission of $3 per game check on me (the Crunch have guaranteed me a spot on the roster as a long-snapper and reserve linebacker and running back) -- not quite enough for a hot dog and a Coke at Kellogg Arena.
|No 'roids necessary to bench 225.|
|Kluck tries to reel in a 12-yard out (Randy Moss shouldn't sweat about his job).|
And that, I think, is the spirit of the thing.
Ted Kluck is a frequent contributor to Page 2 and the author of "Facing Tyson" to be published by the Lyons Press. He will be reporting his experiences as a long-snapper for the Battle Creek Crunch in a series of columns and a forthcoming book.