Friend of TedQuarters and N.Y. Times Giants beat writer Sam Borden uncovers a shocking truth: NFL players do not typically wear cups.
It actually makes some sense. For whatever reason, shots to the groin are not common in football. I wore a cup for my first week of pee-wee football in 3rd grade, then never again in 10 years.
But this much I know is true: If you’re playing lacrosse, you should definitely, definitely wear a cup. And for most of my short lacrosse career, I always did. But in the winter between my freshman and sophomore years of high school, the head coach decided I should learn to play goalie. I used to show up to school at 6 a.m. so he could walk me through various goalie techniques in the school gym at part speed. Since they were never full contact and because I always had a full day of school ahead of me, I never wore a cup. It didn’t seem like I was in any danger.
Then one time, the coach decided I was ready to block some whip shots to show off what I had learned. He had the assistant coach come with a video camera so we could watch film of my form afterward. I was 15, and apparently too shy to admit I went to a lacrosse practice — even a before-school, slow-speed practice — without a cup. And it turns out lacrosse balls spinning on gym floors can bounce at unpredictable angles.
Long story short: Soul-shaking pain. And to make matters worse, it was all on tape, so all the coaches had a hearty laugh at me collapsed on the gym floor in pain. It’s probably still out there somewhere, circulating in the phys ed department of my high school, just waiting for someone who knows how to upload VHS tapes to YouTube. I think I’m ready to laugh about it now.