Well I am!!
Last week was conditioning. It is where the new recruits come and and the 8 head coaches and all their assistants put these kids through the beginnings of their youth football training. The next step is the draft. The order of the draft depends on last year’s standings. Each of the 8 coaches take turns picking their next “football stars’’ until all the new kids are on a team…The only thing is if there are brothers (and in rare circumstances, sisters) trying out, they are put on the same team. Cheer Leaders are also put on the same teams as their siblings.
This Monday, all 8 teams started their first day of practice. For the first week, there are no pads and no helmets so their is no tackling. Yeah, try to tell that to the returning boys who are just itching to put someone on the ground!
The new kids have to learn how to “wrap”, shuffle, “Karaoke”, hit, keep their heads looking up, and the 3 point stance. Offensive and Defensive lines are chosen as well as quarterbacks, running backs and receivers. Usually the center is the heaviest boy….as some positions have weight restrictions. This keeps the bigger boys from plowing over the smaller boys.
Perhaps the most exciting part for the parents is watching the practices and seeing how much their children grow and change over the season. For me, this season is bitter sweet….For once, I won’t be watching my grandsons play….But I decided this won’t stop me from participating. I went to all the practices this week and took my camera. I will continue to go to every practice and every game….and my photos will once again be part of the story.
I have friends with children who still play, and they look for me there. So far, I have been asked several times where my youngest grandson is, or who I have playing on the team. Although it hurts to answer these questions, so far I have been able to keep it together. This year, I will be watching 3 other teams play; because my friends have children on different teams…
So for the next 4 months; I will be busy…practices 4 days a week at first. Then games 3 days a week, and finally play-offs in November. I am even going to try to make it to some of the 2 Junior Highs’ games as I know kids on both teams. “George”, our girl player from last year, is fortunate to be able to play this year as one of the Youth League coaches (Jerry “Oompa-Loompa” from the Raiders) has taken over the 7th grade team for her school. He knows what she can do.
I will worry about the holidays when they come around and try to focus on the present.
I did hear from my middle grandson. He starts Junior High Football tomorrow….I wish him luck…Maybe I will get invited to visit him in Florida and watch him play 1 game….But I’m not getting my hopes up yet.