Groundhogs and Pigskins
August 5, 2013
20 years ago, movie goers were laughing out loud at the predicament Bill Murray found himself in. As Phil, the TV meteorologist, he discovered that he was trapped in a cycle in which every day was a carbon copy of the day before. One of Phil's memorable quotes from the 1993 film Groundhog Day went something like this:
"It's the same thing your whole life; Clean up your room. Stand up straight, Pick up your feet. Take it like a man. Don't mix beer and wine ever. Oh yeah: Don't drive on the railroad track."
For guys who played high school football back in my day, it indeed felt like the same thing over and over again once Fall practice commenced. Get up at the break of dawn. Practice in the brutal heat for hours. Collapse in a heap for an hour or so. Hit the practice field again for several hours during an even hotter afternoon session. Prepare to do it all over again starting the next morning. And if you dared to beg for water, you were denied. The prevaling thought at that time was that water caused cramping. As an alternative, players were urged to take salt tablets so they popped them like chicklets. If you took a major lick to the noggin, it was called "getting your bell rung." Suck it up and get back in the rotation. Two-a Days were barbaric-but you had to pick up your feet and take it like a man.
It took several years and major advances in sports medicine, but coaches now realize that the old practices were about as dangerous as driving on the railroad tracks. No more two-a-days in August. Plenty of water breaks. Practices are limited to 3 hour segments. Trainers are now on site. Concussions are taken seriously.
Fall practice for the 2013 high school football season rolled around once again starting today. Parents can take solice in knowing that safety is a top priority for the young men who represent our community in what is a very physical arena.
Punxsutawney Phil's yearly emergence from his den and potential peek at his shadow always signals that Spring is just a few weeks away or that Winter is going to hang around a bit longer. Now that the shrill sound of a coaches whistle, the smell of fresh cut grass, and the crash of pads colliding have returned, a clear signal has been sent that the Boys of Fall are ready to do battle for yet another season.
The regular season for Bradford will kick off on August 30th at Suwannee County. For 28 years, it has been much like a Groundhog Day experience for me as I prepare for another season behind the mike on Eagle Country 106.3. I am ready to get it started all over again!