placekickers

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Trump is Trump. You can pull somebody out of the insane asylum and staff him with the best people in the business, and he’s still going to be in the parking lot screaming about the book of Revelations and there’s nothing you can do about it. Hillary’s the placekicker on the field. She’s shanking every kick. And Trump’s the guy pleasuring himself in the stands.
—  Former Romney national security adviser John Noonan, quoted by U.S. News.

The Small, Intense, Unfairly Exclusive World of Football Placekickers

Brent Grablachoff says he isn’t a yeller, but six hours into his second day in a row of coaching, he sounds like one. He’s trying to pump up 18 high-school football players competing to see who can connect on the longest field goal; this contest is the grand finale of his two-day camp for teenagers who want a shot at becoming kickers and punters.

It’s 93 degrees in Toms River, New Jersey, but it feels hotter on the unshaded artificial turf, and over the constant thud of high schoolers’ cleats connecting with footballs, you can somehow hear Grablachoff’s increasingly hoarse voice. “Fifteen minutes of chaotic kicking!” he yells, or at least tries to. “Coming your way, guys!”

He keeps moving the ball back, and as the contest progresses, he’ll winnow down this already-small group to just one or two players.

In a way, it’s a small-scale illustration of the years-long process it takes to become a kicker.

Read more. [Image: AP/Al Behrman]