My Favourite Drop Kick. Part three.

Vin Maskell continues his occasional series

Nashville songwriter Paul Craft wrote Drop Kick Me Jesus in the mid-1970s. It became a minor country and western hit for a bloke called Bobby Bare in 1976.

Wikipedia describes the song as the world’s ‘only Christian football waltz’. One doubts not too many people would dispute such a claim.

It’s a corny song, for sure, but a devout Christian footballer (such as the late, great Pastor Doug Nicholls, perhaps?) would have probably danced a waltz to it, in-between evading tackles, doing a blind turn or two and then heading goalward.

The chorus goes like this:
Dropkick me, Jesus, through the goal-posts of life
End over end, neither left nor to right
Straight through the heart of them righteous up-rights
Dropkick me, Jesus, through the goal-posts of life.

Paul Craft is no minor one-hit wonder. The Eagles and Linda Ronstadt have recorded his songs, as have Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers, J J Cale, and, apparently, Clint Eastwood.

On his website, Craft writes: ‘When I wrote Dropkick Me, Jesus (through the goal posts of life), I figured everybody knew about songs like I’m Using My Bible for a Roadmap and We Need a Lot More Jesus (and a lot less rock and roll) and would appreciate what I had accomplished with my song. Well, my mother didn’t, for one. She just KNEW there was something wrong with a song that had “kick” and “Jesus” that close together in the title. And she wasn’t alone. But Elvis Costello and Bill Clinton understand it and like it.’

I wrote to Craft a fortnight ago, eager to learn more, but haven’t heard back. Maybe he’s jack of talking about the song. The three blogs on his website were written in 2007. Maybe Jesus has drop kicked Paul Craft to, as he sings in the song’s final verse, ‘the big Super Bowl way up in the sky.’

The song lives on. Phil Dirkx, a columnist for the The San Luis Obispo Tribune (in California, halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco), wrote last February:

‘On Super Bowl Sunday, I was part of a gathering that sang Drop-Kick Me Jesus Through the Goalposts of Life.

‘That song has always pressed my peeve button. For years I’ve wanted to tell somebody that it should be “Placekick Me,” not “Drop-Kick Me.”

‘The drop kick is obsolete. It’s a rarity. It’s a museum piece. The drop kick was already archaeological in 1976, when Bobby Bare’s recording of Drop-Kick Me Jesus climbed to 17th on the Country Western Music charts.

‘A drop kick isn’t a punt. To do a drop kick, the kicker must drop the ball and wait for it to hit the ground before kicking it. It was used for field goals and conversions. The drop kick quickly became a curio after 1934 when the shape of the football was modified to today’s slimmer, pointier configuration. It has a less predictable, less kickable bounce than the former shape.’

Well, at least the Australian Rules drop kick had another 40 years on the American drop kick. Craft’s song was a hit at a time when the Australian Rules drop kick was fast losing favour, at the elite level at least. It had nothing to do with the shape of the Sherrin, though. Blame it on economic rationalism. On consistency and accuracy versus flair and romance, on robots versus players, on constant movement versus reflection and patience, on common sense versus risk, on winning versus losing.

More about Paul Craft:

Drop Kick Me Jesus on YouTube:

About Vin Maskell

Founder and editor of Stereo Stories, a partner site of The Footy Almanac. Likes a gentle kick of the footy on a Sunday morning, when his back's not playing up. Been known to take a more than keen interest in scoreboards - the older the better.


  1. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rocket says:

    Johnny McMahon (father of netballer, Sharelle) used to always use a drop kick to boot the ball back into play after a behind was scored – he used to boot it to the other side of the centre at the Rochester Recreation Reserve!

  2. I love these bizarre song titles; always loved Kinky’s “They Ain’t Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore”.
    A drop kick is these days, of course, more popular as vernacular for an annoying pest of a companion!

  3. Vin,
    Your story reminded me of a doco I once saw on tv about Doug Flutie, the well-known former NFL quarterback. In his final NFL game, on New Year’s Day 1986, Flutie drop-kicked a conversion through the up-rights. The last time this had been successfully attempted in the NFL was 1941 !!

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