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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Struck Strikes Out! : Essence of Football

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Essence of football easy to see

As I flit about the countryside taking photos and visiting with coaches of the prep fall sports of football, volleyball and cross country, it's easy to tune in on the coaches' zest and zeal for the promises of the new school year and season ahead.

For sure, the same holds true for coaches of the winter sports of basketball and wrestling, the spring sports of track & field, golf and tennis, and the summer sports of baseball and softball, but for now the hot topic is football, football, football.

This is not to slight volleyball and cross country, with both sports slowly but steadily gaining in popularity, but the proof is in the pudding and the biggest bowl of pudding in the fall is football.

Parents, grandparents, siblings, classmates, girlfriends and fans are known to show up to watch their favorite player or team practice, to say nothing of the crowds they represent at the actual games!

For all its complexities and Xs and Os, the entertaining simplicities of the sport of football can best be seen at practice, as the coaches break down the game to the most basic fundamentals of running, tackling, blocking, eluding, throwing and kicking.

In pre-season practices many players hustle and work harder than ever before in an effort to impress their coaches and earn a starting spot on varsity or junior varsity, whichever the case.

In pre-season practices the coaches are rejuvenated and enthusiastic for the season ahead because at this time all the teams are full of promise and the unknown, and all even in the standings and on the scoreboard.

Then the season starts and the good and not-so-good teams eventually assume their places in the end, with injuries, bad breaks, bad calls and bad luck the wild card as to how it all washes out.

At season's end, dreams are realized or dashed, goals reached or failed and faces happy or sad; for, as it is with sports, 'tis the bitterness of defeat that brings the sweetness to victory.

From the wondrous fall nights, to the tasty tailgaters, to the actual games, football reigns truly supreme as we all sit back and watch a disparate ensemble of high school boys and their coaches become one with a singular sense of purpose to be achieved for the glory of their team and their school.

May this be the case this season for you Braves, Bulldogs, Eagles, Wolverines and Pirates among us.

Who says it's just a game?

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