Kelly Van De Walle: In time for the draft, a family scouting report

With the NFL Draft wrapping up Saturday, I thought it would be fun to evaluate some unique players this year and how they stack up with the competition: my family.


Age: 7

Height: About as tall as a badger

Weight: 49 pounds

Overview: She is a fiery sprite that comes from a line of athletes on her father’s side, starting with her father, who is extremely fast but mostly just at typing and sandwich-eating. Bold and daring, she is often found playing on playground equipment in ways not intended just to intentionally freak out the rest of the coaching staff. A natural leader, she takes command of teammates telling them what to do and how to do it despite being a player herself and not a coach and not really having the requisite authority.


• Competitive spirit and hates to lose, often scowling for hours after particularly harsh losses in Wii Bowling.

• Trash talking: a trait derived from the player’s mother who is a legend in this area

• Being adorable


• Slight frame: Has to wear sandbags around ankles to keep from blowing away. Will need to put on weight to compete at the next level but likely only 150-200 pounds.

• Easily distracted, particularly during dinner causing numerous delay-of-game penalties. After seven years it may be an ingrained habit and hard to correct.

• Already questioning coaching decisions, particularly when they relate to leaving birthday parties and reluctance of coaching staff to allow a week-long trip to South Carolina with a friend’s family

• Will, at times, bend the rules when dealing out UNO cards that will coincidentally net her a hand full of three WILD and four Draw-Fours


Age: 4

Height: Roughly the size of an adolescent pelican

Weight: 49 pounds

Overview: Built like a fireplug, he’s a lot like the Hulk in that he’s full of emotion and power that’s not always channeled in the right direction. Also enjoys smashing. Overall does not take to coaching well and prefers to march to the beat of his own drum. This shows up most prominently when asked to do anything that’s not “Go get yourself a popsicle.” Freelancing often gets him into precarious situations. Adept problem-solver, able to start and finish multiple puzzles despite the announcement of it being bedtime 40 minutes ago. Needs more seasoning to really begin to flourish.


• Energy: Always the first one up, despite explicit direction from the coaching staff that for the love of God it’s OK to sleep in past 5.

• Easily motivated by candy

• Dedication to tasks that will net candy

• Surprisingly proficient at technology, in particular turning on the TV, navigating to “his” Netflix account and finding his favorite weird foreign-language cartoon. Will come in handy during film review (provided it’s animated) or when dad says “Turn on ESPN.” Who needs Alexa?

• Strong lower base. Will easily knock over kids and smaller adults twice his size by jumping on top of them for spontaneous piggyback rides or attack hugs

• Decisiveness: this usually manifests when he’s about to pet your dog and, yep…he just pet your dog.


• Diet could use some restrictions. Coaching staff is worried about the long-term effects of a diet predominantly consisting of fruit snacks, Cap’n Crunch and gouda cheese.

• Running, walking, or standing in place: will repeatedly fall over

• Injury-prone: even the slightest bump or scrape will cause the affected limb to be unusable for 2-4 days even with a Spiderman Band-Aid

• Accuracy: when attempting to get food into mouth, often will miss completely

• Clothing removal: Becomes temporarily paralyzed when asked to take off clothes for bath, necessitating help from other staff members.

• Catching: not a natural “hands” catcher, preferring to let the ball come into his body and preferring even more if you just could hand him the ball and then walk away.

• Immaturity: he’s four


Age: Timeless

Height: 5’9

Weight: Unlisted

Overview: Excellent vision and judgement, evidenced by her choice of spouse. Extremely organized, she is a leader both on and off the field, but mostly on because she doesn’t go to fields because, duh, they’re gross. Prefers to watch and cheer for competitors of spouse’s favorite team despite maybe only knowing one player on that team. Even purchases other team apparel and wears it in front of patient spouse, which isn’t frustrating in the least.


• Team captain that excels at doling out assignments, particularly on weekends

• Above-average intelligence: knows exactly what needs to be done and how other people should do them

• Ultra-competitive: once flipped over an entire RISK board game not 10 minutes into the battle because her troops were being attacked and ohmygod why would you DO that to them?!

• Possesses excellent memory and can recall questionable things said by her partner nine years ago almost instantaneously, even in seemingly unrelated conversations.


• Easily distracted by men named Chris (Evans, Pine, Pratt, Hemsworth, etc.)

• Wine

• Gluten

• Catching: Do not throw things to her and expect her to do anything about it other than shout, “Seriously, WHY are you throwing this to me right now?”


Kelly Van De Walle can be reached at vandkel@hotmail.com