Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Smack Dab Sports Report: The Middle Men of the NFL

I'll probably get sued
for using this.
     Almost everyone is familiar with the exploits of the NFL’s most famous Middle Child, Peyton Manning. In fact, in the NFL it’s the quarterback that usually gets all the attention: Brady, Luck, Rodgers, Brees, the “other” Manning. Even not-so-great QB’s get to bask in the limelight. (Did someone say Tim Tebow?) But often lost in the shuffle is, what some believe, the 2nd most important position on the team. The NFL’s true Middle Men. No, not the center -- even though you could make the argument that they are literally at the center of it all as they touch the ball more than anyone during a game. With direct snaps and what not, they could theoretically touch the ball more than even the oh so precious quarterback! Even more central to the game than the center is the Inside Linebacker. A.K.A the Mike, the Mac --the Middle Linebacker. Or as I prefer to call them, the Middle Child of the defense. None of the glitz and glamor of a shutdown corner, or the glory of a blitz-happy outside linebacker. Yet in true Middle Child fashion, always demanding attention. They are the quarterbacks of the defense, shouting out adjustments, calling the scheme and aligning players.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sandwiched Siblings: A Study in Middleocrity

If you're a Middle Child, welcome to
the club -- sandwich, that is.

         I’ll be the first to admit it -- I used to be a birth order bigot. I was so parochial in my definition of what was required before you could be called a Middle Child, I even went so far as to say in a previous post that Malcom wasn’t really in the Middle! Crazy, right? But there’s a simple explanation. I was a product of my upbringing. My views were shaped by my personal experience. Being the Middle Child in a family of three, I viewed Middle Child-dom through the most myopic of lenses. In my mind, only the very middle of an odd number of siblings was a true Middle Child. All others laying claim to the title were not worthy.  Pretenders to the throne. Since Malcom was the third of four brothers for the first five seasons, he did not meet the stringent criteria required to be considered a Middle Child in my eyes.
          Clearly, I was so blinded by the effects of severe Middle Child Syndrome, I could not see the flaws in my thinking. Does the third of four feel any less neglected than the second of four? What of the Middle of three who ten years later had another sibling? Surely she had been damaged enough in those ten years that she deserves to retain her Middle Child bona fides. Fortunately, over time I have come to see the light. As with all matters of great social import, my thinking has evolved.
          If there was any doubt that I have already given way too much thought to the topic, this will convince you. I recently analyzed the varying degrees of Middle Childness across the Middle Child Spectrum, categorized them, and then gave each group a name. I have even made a chart. (Yeah, I’ve definitely given this way too much thought.)