Saying that Jim Harbaugh is a very competitive person would be a colossal understatement. Saying that I would be both too nervous and too intimidated to play a game of catch with him after reading a recent article from the Wall Street Journal would also be an understatement. Suggesting that I might wet my pants if an opportunity to do as much ever presented itself would probably be about right.
Harbaugh, a 15-year veteran of the NFL as a player, is still throwing the football. We've all seen it prior to games, whether you've attended an actual game or caught a little bit of it that they choose to show on the broadcast before the game or at some point during (a look back, in that case). He throws to the quarterbacks, he throws to the receivers ... he basically throws to everyone.
Sometimes he's just slinging it to get a ball to a receiver. Sometimes he's playing a game of catch, which is what is discussed in the aforementioned article. Harbaugh plays a so-called "intense game of catch." This game of catch is used as a gauge, and has been used throughout his life.
It's interesting to see that Harbaugh used to do this when he was growing up to gauge whether or not he's better than another would-be quarterback. These days, he does it to gauge potential draftees at the quarterback position. Unlike most talent evaluation people, Harbaugh goes right up to these quarterbacks and asks them if they want to throw the ball a little.
He sizes players up doing this. He looks at whether or not they throw the ball harder as he throws it harder and of course, he's also trying to build a rapport with the players in questions. But the competitive aspect is what's interesting to me. The article says that Harbaugh's games of catch are "unusually serious," which is the part that intimidates me.
I know if I played catch with him and he started to throw the ball harder and harder, I'd probably just break. I'm assuming Colin Kaepernick answered in kind, though I'm doubting he hit Harbaugh with the best his arm has to offer, unless there is a football-shaped hole somewhere on Harbaugh's body that I have yet to see.
Harbaugh is obviously a polarizing figure around the NFL. Many fans dislike him, but those fans would count themselves among the fans of other teams, not our 49ers. I suspect many of us could be put off by him if we were, you know, with the enemy, but I personally love Harbaugh and love this particular aspect about him. I just don't want to play catch with him.