The Parent of a Long Snapper

The Parent of a Long Snapper

At first, you were confused. You were definitely no expert on football, but you did know the basics. And, within those basics, you knew that no one actually wanted to be a long snapper. So, when your 8th grade son came up to you and said he might want to go to a long snapping camp, you were baffled. You were going to be the parent of a long snapper?

You remember the moment like it was yesterday. Your son, who was always a decent athlete, guided you through the website (yes, an actual site devoted to long snapping) as though he had studied it for hours. He knew all the ins and outs of the site, he was trying to “hook” you into registering him. You appeased your sons zeal. You still weren’t sure on the whole process until Bruce came over. Bruce was your son’s best friend. They had been friends ever since they had the same kindergarten teacher. Your son was the good athlete who was very intelligent while Bruce was a very good soccer player that had more looks than common sense. Wits aside, Bruce was a great kid that always landed on his feet (and used them). Anyway, he came over (during the long snapping propaganda ceremony that your son was putting on) and chimed in.

Bruce was actually going to the same camp, but as a kicker. Your son and Bruce were both headed off to high school and already had planned how to stay united. Since the local high school’s soccer team was, to put it nicely, sub-par, Bruce decided to forgo soccer and just become a kicker for the football team. Bruce would be the kicker and your son would the snapper. It was perfect. They were inseparable off the field and now would be the same on the field as well. You were going to be a parent of a long snapper?

You caved after hours of persistence from your son and Bruce (actually like ten minutes). You sent your soon to be high schooler off with Bruce to the camp. Bruce went to his side of the field, your son went to his. Bruce learned how to kick, your son learned how to snap. You were becoming a parent of a long snapper?

This went on for years. Camp after camp. To say the process was smooth is not accurate. The first year, the coach couldn’t care less about your son and his “position” on the team. For Bruce, it was not much better. Freshman teams aren’t really a juggernaut on offense so there were little opportunities for the two boys to shine. That, and the fact that your boy was, average at best with his snapping, made life a bit tough during snapping season (which is year round).

Sophomore year was big for the boys…well, a boy. Bruce really grew physically and with his kicking. Puberty high-fived him and guided him into the weight room where he put on about twenty pounds of muscle that he used simply for kicking. He was becoming a monster on campus and on the field. Even though, he was “only” a kicker, he was still regarded as “that guy” on the team. Bruce, only a sophomore, was already starting to dominate the kicking camps. Life was good, no great, for him.

For your son, things were more challenging. Puberty eluded him at first. A tad thin, gawky even, your boy simply couldn’t put on weight. Muscle was not even close to hitting his frame. You would have been happy with even some fat. Nothing would stick to his bones. Frustrated was an understatement. The one thing that kept your son going: his snapping. He kept at the camps, he worked on his form, he loved the camaraderie. He was part of a group…almost a gang. You met parents. You didn’t mind the camps. It was becoming fun for you as well. You were becoming a parent of a long snapper?

Junior year flew by and so did the notion of your son being thin. He filled out very well and looked like an athlete. Camps became more frequent and social media allowed you to stay connected to other parents of long snappers. You even became very good friends with Bruce’s parents. It was hard not to since the boys were always together and you had a common denominator to discuss. Bruce’s recruiting took off, he flourished at the kicking camps and was even offered a couple scholarships to major universities. All the while, your son snapped the ball to “the star.” Bruce was the stud kicker and your son was “the kid who snapped it to Bruce.”

As popular as Bruce became at school, on the recruiting sites and on blogs, he never forgot your son and how “his” key plays during the game, started. Bruce knew were the play started. Your son and Bruce practiced non-stop throughout the year. Your son snapped the footballs, a random kid would hold and Bruce would kick it long and far. Day in and day out, week in and week out, camp after camp, Bruce and your son were a team. You were the parent of a long snapper.

Senior year comes along and wouldn’t you know it, your son’s football team was doing well, very well. Games were like parties, everyone knew about Bruce and you were part of the whitewash. The crowd cheered for every kick like it was a game winner. No matter if it was a P.A.T. or a 50 yarder, the other parents roared congratulations to Bruce’s parents after each and every time Bruce was on the field. You sat right next to them and congratulated them just as everyone else did. And, after every kick, which, of course meant a great snap from your son, Bruce’s parents, almost in unison, would look your way and simply mouth the words “thank you.” They never said it out loud, but you knew they meant it from the bottom of the hearts. They knew their son’s success was directly correlated to all the time Bruce and your son spent together at camps, on the field and watching games on TV. There was no kick made without a snap. You were the parent of a long snapper.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, the team made the championship game. Everyone was excited, BEYOND excited. The kids, school and the town were overflowing with excitement. Everyone wanted to see a perfect game. Unfortunately, Mother Nature couldn’t care less. The early December game meant chance for rain and that seemed to be simply what would happen on that Saturday night.

Your son and Bruce did some extra practice that week. You and Bruce’s father went with them. You both created as many wild scenarios as possible. Nothing would surprise them. By Wednesday, when the weather report made it clear that rain would be a legit possibility, you even brought a gallon of water to saturate the footballs so your son could simulate a wet snap. Your son was not a fan of this drill and never really could manage to create his perfect snap. You were definitely the parent of a Long Snapper.

Now it is game night and the weather was cooperating, thus far. It was cold, very cold, but no rain at all. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth is how the score went all game long. The teams were very evenly matched. You were a quiet fan, but even found yourself cheering out loud at several points in the game.

The game came down to the final five minutes and wouldn’t you know it, the sky decided to open up and cleanse the players. When the first drop hit your jacket, your heart sunk fifty miles and you couldn’t breathe. On cue, your son looked up at you and you could see him swallow and look at you with his big, brown eyes. His look seemed to say “Not this, anything but this. Please dad, make the rain stop.” Your eyes welled up, emotions grabbed you, there was nothing you could do expect yell to him, “You got this!” You are the parent of a Long Snapper.

The rain came down in buckets. It seemed to increase by the minute. The game become sloppy. No one had any footing, no one could run, no one could throw, it was becoming ugly. Somehow, the football gods blessed your son’s team and allowed them a big run off the right tackle. The running back burst off the end and was gone for a 60 yard pickup. He eventually was brought down on the opposing team’s ten yard line. Everyone was so excited, they barely realized the clock was almost out. There were three seconds left. There was time for one play from the ten yard line.

The coach was not an ignorant man. He motioned for Bruce. You saw it, Bruce’s parents saw it. You looked at each other. Emotions overflowing. You all nodded at the same time with the look of “here we go.” Your boy looked at you, you heart was pounding, The rain was pouring and that only added to the wetness coming from your eyes. You tried to remain strong for your son’s sake. It was almost too much.

All the years of training, all the hours, all the camps, should make this moment easy for your son and Bruce. Your son set up on the ball, the overly saturated ball, he wiggled his fingers. You knew his routine, you were the parent of a Long Snapper.

The snap came out quickly, it was not a tight spiral. You gulped. Your worst nightmare. Time stopped. The ball rotated. The ball flew over the holder’s outstretched arms. You almost vomited. You felt a thousand eyes look at you. You tried to stay focused on your son. You didn’t look anyone in the eyes. You felt as though you were spiraling into an abyss. Your son just had a bad snap.

Trying to avoid every fan’s eyes, you finally caught a glimpse of your son and noticed a yellow flag on the field. You hoped, you prayed, for it to be on the other team. It was! It turns out the nose guard illegally hit your son just before the snap and that is what caused the wayward snap. You looked around and noticed no one was looking at you now. Bruce’s parents patted you on the back. You got closer to them. You and them, just like Bruce and your son, were a team.

The game winning kick cleared the field goal posts easily. Your son’s snap was perfect. It was just like the countless other snaps you had seen him execute at camps, in the garage, in the front driveway, in the backyard, in the street and on the field. You are the parent of a Long Snapper.

The crowd swarmed Bruce’s parents in the crowd and as they made their way onto the field. It was a mass of humanity and it converged on to the hero of the game, Bruce. Hundreds of people chanted his name, they lifted him up, he won the game. He made the game winning kick. He won the championship. He did it all.

You avoided the masses and went to the spot on the field where your son snapped the ball. He was there, waiting for you. You hugged him as hard as anyone ever held someone they loved and were proud of. As you opened your eyes filled with tears, you caught Bruce’s parents looking at you. They were just twenty yards away but it might as well have been twenty miles. You were with your son, the Long Snapper, isolated from everyone and they were with their son, the kicker, the hero of the game, being mobbed by hundreds. Twenty yards away, your eyes met and you clearly saw Bruce’s parents, who clearly understood the process, mouth the words to you, “Thank you!”

You ARE the parent of the Long Snapper.

Rubio Long Snapping is, by far, the biggest and best resource for Long Snappers in the country. Rubio has been featured in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the USA Today, Deadspin and countless other publications.

Offering the best instruction and most exposure in the world, Rubio Long Snapping can help you to become the best snapper you can be!

In just 14 years, Chris Rubio, President and Owner of Rubio Long Snapping, has become the #1 Long Snapping instructor in the country and the go-to man when a college coach needs a Long Snapper. Colleges from across the country rely on “Rubio’s” word day in and day out on who the best Long Snappers are in the country. Rubio Long Snapping has assisted in over 1,000 Long Snappers earning full scholarships and preferred walk-on opportunities to major colleges and universities just for Long Snapping and many into the NFL as well.



  1. Wow………….
    We the parents of the long snapper
    Will always know as will our sons that being the hero, was never the goal but the dream.
    That it starts and is dependent upon the cool demeanor of our sons. Hero's one and all, pride and the knowledge that but for them and the near thankless ability made it all possible. So I WILL hug my child and he will know with irrefutable actions that we Know and they Know the Truth……

  2. Long Snapping builds such great character that will last a lifetime. Great post!!!

  3. Love this. Everyone notices a bad snap but most don't notice the great ones! We do at all levels. We ARE the proud parents of a Long Snapper! and the encourager of dreams.
    Derron and Angel Hess, proud parents of Jake.

  4. I love this. A long snapper is just one of those rare football players that don't need the glory – they only want the win. . .

  5. How true to the fact this short story is, our most recent down pour here in Spring Texas could have been cloth for the story. As the parent of a Long Snapper it couldn't be more of the truth, the kicker thanks him on the way off the field and the kicker gets all the glory from the sidelines and the stands. My son loves the fact when a player tells him anyone can do his job and he just hands them the ball and laughs when it goes rolling back after 3 yards or so, then the respect comes in for the Long Snapper.

  6. Lauria Arnett says

    I love this. Everyone notices a bad snap and most do not see the great snaps. We are very proud of Zach and the life lessons that comes from Long Snapping. WAR EAGLE!

  7. Great article. So proud to say that I am a proud parent of a long snapper and a punter. Because of age differences, they never played together. The punter son had to practically make the other son try long snapping. My long snapper son is so glad he did.
    Many camps and training later, my long snapper is being recruited by colleges.

  8. Pete Hadley says

    Glad you reposted this!!!

The Parent of a Long Snapper