Imagine if you had a buddy who was into the same things as you and who also happened to be an NFL player and wasn’t afraid to clue you in to a lot of what goes on behind the scenes, that’s who this guy is.
I think of Chris Kluwe as a guy just like me who likes video games, books, sports, Magic cards, and so on, and he just happens to be an NFL punter. In this, I think he is a bit of an enigma. Players in the NFL, even ones on is team like Adrian Peterson, tend to focus on football and that is all they know and all they are defined by. Sure, as fans, that is what we want. But as people, that is so incredibly boring. Kluwe is pretty outspoken about his feelings on many issues, both inside and outside the NFL, and is very interesting to follow on Twitter. I’m a fan.
It isn’t that he’s outspoken. Lot of professional athletes have been outspoken. Kluwe is unquestioningly intelligent. He may not be the brightest person in the world, but when he writes about a topic, he showcases a level of creativity, wit, and knowledge that one doesn’t see often these days from outspoken people.
Ok, so here is some context to what you are about to read: The Trenches is done by the PA guys and Scott Kurtz, and is essentially about video games testers and the hell they go through in their jobs. Along with the comic, you always get a story submitted by a reader about how terrible their job/life is. So, Kluwe did the same thing, describing how ‘terrible’ his life is in comparison to the video game testers of this site…
It Ain’t All Fame and Fortune
Submitted by: Anonymous punter for the MN Vikings, first initial Chris, last initial Kluwe
You want to hear some shit? Let me tell you about my average day. It starts off with waking up at 6:45 in the morning, which is waaaaaay before the sun comes up, which means it’s cold. Real cold. So cold that the steering wheel heater in my BMW takes at LEAST five minutes to warm up. Sometimes I even have to hit the three zone seat heater, which is not a step I take lightly. That thing chews right through ultra-premium gas.
Once the climate problems are dealt with, I have to fight my way through ten, maybe fifteen minutes of light traffic. Occasionally there’s an accident, some person in an Oldsmobile or something, and I have to drop down to 55mph. Let me tell you, there is nothing more depressing than driving past a broken down minivan filled with screaming children, and you can only do 55. Just awful.
Finally I get to work. My clothes are freshly laundered and hung in my locker, but the industrial strength drying machine they use sometimes shrinks my pants and I have to ask for a new pair. They always give me some, but it’s just so humiliating to actually have to talk to the equipment managers. Rarely, they’ll make eye contact, and what am I supposed to do then? Acknowledge them? Pretend to remember their names?
After that disaster, the only way to calm myself down is to head up to the cafeteria and order some freshly made pancakes and scrambled egg whites, but the kitchen staff create a very hostile environment. They also put out biscuits, gravy, waffles, hashbrowns, thick cut bacon, thin cut bacon, sausage patties, a fruit and yogurt bar, a cereal stand, croissants, english muffins, bacon, and fully made breakfast sandwiches. How am I supposed to look at all that and eat healthy at the same time? Some people just don’t get it.
Once breakfast is out of the way (and I’ve been forced to bus my own dishes over to the dishwasher), it’s time for meetings. These last for an agonizing forty five minutes before I can finally escape, and if I fall asleep during the meetings I get yelled at. It’s so unfair – don’t they know how early I had to wake up? Then I have to somehow find a way to fill the next two hours before lunch; usually the only option is to play dominos, but sometimes I lose and that really sucks. It’s super hard to stay focused in at work once you lose a domino game. It can ruin your entire day.
After lunch (with its measly selection of four different entrees, three side courses, a salad bar, a sandwich bar, a dessert bar, and an ice cream freezer) there’s another hour of dead time that I’m supposed to fill. Usually I’ll sneak into the equipment room and read the paper, but the couch there is getting old and the dryers are moderately loud so it’s a less than ideal environment. It’s really hard to focus on the crossword puzzle with a dryer rattling around. Other times I’ll go take a nap in the lounge, but there’s only the two couches so if it fills up quickly it’s a real bummer.
Then comes the worst part of the day: practice. I have to actually put on my cleats and go punt a football for THIRTY MINUTES.
Thirty minutes. I’ll let that sink in a little bit.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that I’m done when the punting ends either – then I have to go inside and pretend to lift weights so I can sit down. The coaches don’t let us sit down on the field, and I think you’ll all agree that that’s basically indentured servitude. I’m considering filing an OSHA complaint.
After all that grueling work, practice finally ends and I have to hurry up and head home at three so I can avoid traffic. Exhausting. My only relief is to sit on the couch and play games until midnight to unwind from the stress.
So when you video game testers think you have it hard, in your air conditioned rooms with your fancy electronics, take a minute and think about us poor NFL punters. We deal with the real shit, out in the real world. Our trenches run deep.