Dog Days Of SummerWritten by: Edsel Walker on Wednesday, July 15th, 2009
Beneath the hot summer sun, the young players engage in conditioning drills.
The coach encourages, motivates, and inspires. He is a clone of Norman Vincent Peale and vocalizes The Powers of Positive Thinking. He will change a bit in the weeks to come and be less nurturing. The players all await the inevitable volcanic eruption of emotion that is sure to come. The coach will bite his whistle and order his troops to run, or to crawl the length of the field crab style.
Football is a classroom all its own. The lessons are unique and will follow these young men long after their playing days.
Where sweat is the price of progress and pain can be a single snap away. The lessons are courage and commitment . The classroom bell is replaced by the shrill of the whistle. The game is believed by many to be the ultimate team sport. The players are taught to work together and learn that no one reaches the end zone by themselves. The platform of victory is not reached alone. The chain that supports the weight of its task is effective because each of its links are strong. The multiple weight lifting sessions and conditioning drills unify the players. They develop a true sense of team.
But these are the dog days of summer, and everybody is undefeated and unscored upon. The coaches dream and scheme of mismatches between the hashes. There are jobs to be won. The reality of the near future is blocking and tackling. The shorts and shirtless look will be a memory. The pads and helmets will separate some from others. The pretenders are posing as contenders until two a days. Big hits will bring symphonies of ooohs, aaahs and atta boys. The fans watching practice and the coaches will smile.
The game is about Friday nights. The smells of the concessions. The buzz of the crowd. The cheerleaders, majorettes and the band. Broken field runs and backside blitzes. Backyard battles with neighboring communities. Bragging rights are important to the people who pay their three or four dollars to view the spectacle. If victory is not achievable, may the team play with heart, spirit, and fight to the very end. The bright lights that shine on the stage of green will fade to black. They will rest until a future Friday.
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