By Ambarish Manepalli (Director/Writer)
Growing up we played football.
In the snow, on a field, in the mud sometimes… Yeah, yeah we played basketball in the driveway and we tossed around a frisbee but nothing was more important than that all important football game during the holidays. It’s a cold weather ritual.
It meant something.
It meant that we got to participate in the gridiron dream of America that anyone can embrace: that somewhat violent, definitely strategic and frenetic game that is American football. It’s no NFL, it’s no College Football even, it is and forever will be in the backyards and parks of St. Louis where our football was played.
That stupid and glorious invincibility of our teenage years where we thought that we were immortal and could tackle each other at will. Those plays we’d make up. That Hike and One-One Thousand, Two-One Thousand… before that sloppy blitz. It’s all part of it.
Our games were always diverse. The “brownies” as we’d affectionately call those with a heritage that gave you some darker, let’s say brown-like pigment in your skin playing with or sometimes against the “whiteys” (i.e. those with maybe a little less pigment). I know, I know, those of you reading this post can call these jibes, thinly veiled racism or an affirmation of racial and ethnic identities, but I beg to differ.
Rather, it was a reaffirmation of the fact that we all belonged. We all were a part of this America where an Irish immigrant could come over 200 years ago, and an Indian immigrant could come 20 years ago, and their descendants could still beat the snot out of each other on a football field. All Sportsmanlike.
It’s why I want to make this movie.
I haven’t played football in way too long.
Thanks to Seth Lemmons for this fantastic photo