Opinion Corner: Best time of the yearThe best month of the year has nearly arrived. That’s right — August. You’re probably asking yourself, ‘What’s so great about August?’ It’s real simple. All things football come together in August — NFL training camps, college football practices, high school football two-a-days and, of course, fantasy football drafts.
By: Brian Willhide, The Jamestown Sun
The best month of the year has nearly arrived. That’s right — August.
You’re probably asking yourself, ‘What’s so great about August?’
It’s real simple. All things football come together in August — NFL training camps, college football practices, high school football two-a-days and, of course, fantasy football drafts.
Football teams at every level train all offseason waiting for this month to come.
In my experience, there’s no other feeling in the world like it.
It’s that feeling of walking into the locker room at 5 a.m. and putting on the helmet and lacing up those cleats — knowing you’ve got two and a half hours of pain, struggle and sweat ahead of you.
Not only that, it’s knowing that you’re going to take a couple hours to rest, get some food in, rehydrate and then go out in the afternoon heat and do it all over again.
It takes a special kind of mindset to put yourself through that six days a week for the duration of preseason camp.
Having been fortunate enough to play at both the high school and collegiate level, I’ve witnessed a lot of guys that, on paper, would be fantastic football players. Either they’ve got the ideal size or speed or athleticism — maybe all three.
But like I’ve told many people before: Football just simply is not for everybody. Not everybody is cut out for it.
Every training camp in high school, my defensive coordinator used to give us a percentage breakdown of what he considered the most important aspects of a good football player.
He said only 25 percent is directly related to physical skill. The remaining 75 percent is mental — knowing where to line up, what your responsibility is and what to expect from the opposing team on each play, just to name a few.
He was absolutely correct — and he was only referring to a good football player while out on the field itself.
Anyone that’s ever played or coached football knows that only a small portion of the sport actually takes place between those white lines. After all, a person’s body can only take so much blocking, tackling, sprinting to the ball and so forth during any given 24-hour period.
The rest of the time is spent in meetings, watching film, immersing oneself in the playbook, lifting weights, rehabbing sore muscles, rehydrating, eating healthy and mentally preparing oneself for that next day.
Not many of the people in the stands on Friday nights or Saturday afternoons can really appreciate what goes into a given week of preparation — and that’s OK. That’s not why football players compete day in and day out the way they do.
Sure, it’s wonderful to have your name in the newspaper after a great game. Yes, post-season accolades and awards are terrific. And maybe even some more attention from that cheerleader you’ve had a crush on is a welcome perk, too.
But when it comes down to it, football is about so much more than that. It’s about the love of the game. It’s about the bonds you form with all the other players wearing that same jersey and all the coaches on your sideline carrying those clipboards, barking at you until their voices are hoarse.
There’s nothing else in the world like it.
Football season here we come.
Brian Willhide is a news writer with The Sun and frequent contributor to the Opinion Corner