Like father, grandfather and uncles, Royce Greer is into football.
But unlike father Bo Greer, grandfather Kenny Greer and uncles Vestal and Danny Greer, who all were Princeton Community High School footballers, not-so-little Royce is part of a national finals football team that will play in Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, next to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
The oldest son of 2001 Gibson County Male Athlete of the Year Bo Greer, an all-state lineman, state track meet qualifier in the shot put and discus, a basketball starter as a junior and a semistate wrestling qualifier as a senior at PCHS before starting as an offensive guard for the University of New Mexico football team, is part of Albuquerque's Rio Rancho Rams 11-and-under team that is headed for the Youth American Football League Final Four on the Canton Field where the NFL Hall of Fame exhibition game is played each August. Should the Rams win December 13, they'll play December 16 for the national championship.
What an early Christmas and birthday present that would be for Royce, a sixth grader who will turn 12 on December 26.
"It's really neat," said Royce "Bo" Greer, who after assisting in Princeton football for a few years is back in Albuquerque as the husband of Angelica, whom he met while in college there. They are parents to Royce, named after his father; and 7-year-old son Mosley.
"Royce will be bigger than I was. He's already about 5-foot-11 and 165 pounds," said Bo.
"Unfortunately, I won't be going to Canton. One of us must stay home and take care of Mosley. So Angelica and I had a coin flip, and she won. So she'll be flying from Albuquerque to Cleveland with the team, and then taking the hour-or-so ride to Canton," her husband said.
"I'll be there," said Grandpa Kenny, whose wife Donna is the daughter of former Princeton police chief Howard "Bo" Hardiman, whose nickname was passed on to her son.
"It was a lot of fun to go to Albuquerque a while back and see Royce play two games. He plays right tackle and sometimes moves to center. His team won city and state championships and then a regional championship. One of those first two tournaments is called a Super Bowl.
"Last year the Rams won a Super Bowl but weren't invited to nationals."
After winning city and state championships this autumn, the Rams won the Mountainwest Regional and will take a 15-1 record to Canton.
This is only the second football season for Royce. "Some kids on teams in Albuquerque's league have been playing since they were 5, but I don't believe a kid should play tackle football until his body fills out," said Bo Greer, a 290-pounder who played in Albuquerque's New Mexico Bowl each of his two years as a starting guard for the Lobos.
"Mosley is a lot slimmer than Royce and is into soccer. They both play basketball. I coached a youth league football team right after finishing college, but I'm not coaching now. I've been doing some voice work, some mimics and some commercials. But I've worked with Royce on football techniques, and I'm proud of how he is doing not only in football but also in school," said dad.
"Dad has taught me how to use my upper body. And how to attack a defensive player," Royce said. "He has been very helpful to me.
"I think playing in the Hall of Fame Stadium will be a lot of fun. I've never been there. Not only will we play on the field where an NFL exhibition game is played each year, we'll get to tour the Hall of Fame. I'm really happy about that. It'll be a lot of fun to do those things with my friends like Michael, who plays cornerback and wide receiver; and Noe, who plays linebacker."
Asked which of his two positions is his favorite, Royce said: "I think I like tackle better. It's fun to pass block." And, asked which of his two sports he likes best, he said, "Probably football."
This will be Royce's last season in Albuquerque. "We'll be moving to Phoenix in a few months," said Bo. "Angelica, who while here has been opening stores from mom-and-pops to Walmarts in various states, is getting an even bigger job in Phoenix. Her company is headquartered in St. Louis, which is neat because we're all Cardinals fans.
"For several years I hoped to open a barbeque restaurant here. But there's so much in Arizona. Several former New Mexico players, including Brian Urlacher, a standout linebacker with the Chicago Bears, live there. Schools and sports are so big in Phoenix. And just maybe, the voice work I'm doing here will inspire somebody to let me do standout comedy in Arizona."
Thus Royce might say good-bye to Albuquerque by winning a national championship on a Hall of Fame field. Asked how that would inspire him, he thought a couple seconds and replied:
"I could come back home and talk trash to my friends!"