By Mickey Howley
Have you ever played the game of football–and I mean not the just throwing the ball around one or two hand touch variety or even the more organized and somewhat athletic flag on your belt game–but the real put the pads, helmet and cleats on and get on the grass with 21 other guys version.
If you played that “hardball” version of football –sorry for the mixed sport metaphor—where on a fall weekend you were repeatedly bashing yourself against guys from other schools you might remember certain things.
You’d remember the summer before the fall, the workouts prior to the two-a-day practices, the grunting in the weight room and the heat and sweat as you ran to get ready. And the recollection of those late summer two-a-day practices would seem a masochistic blur, lying in the dew wet grass doing neck rolls and leg lifts calisthenics hoping no red ants are nearby, the un-delicious sensation of raw lungs and the taste of vomit after numerous wind sprints, the violent strain of one on one blocking, the noise of cleats in the locker room and the numb relief of the shower.
When the fall and the real games came and school was in session it seemed easier. One practice a day seemed a breeze, that is unless your team had lost the week before. The games were almost an anti-climactic after thought, as time on the field passes so fast and the action happened so quickly.
And all the hoopla at the games, the cheerleaders, the band, the crowd, the pre-game and half time shows are all non-possibilities if you are a player. There is a vague background awareness of that, but you’re not looking. You’re in the game whether actually on the field or not and all that other stuff has little significance. That’s the focus. You’re a player.
The pep rally for the Blue Devils is this Thursday evening, Aug. 29, at 6 p.m. downtown in Railroad Park. It is the one time the players and the team as a whole get to face the fans without the immediate pressure of the game or helmets covering their heads. And it’s the time you as a fan can really meet and see the guys who have been sweating it out to bring you the sport you so love. So make plans to be downtown this Thursday and cheer on the 2013 Blue Devils.
Less than a month away is the annual ArtCrawl. This year it is the evening of September 21. That’s a Saturday and there is no football game in the area. We checked.
The downtown Farmers Market is still going on every Saturday from 8 to 11. Seems the mad rush tomato lust has died down, which is too bad as the tomatoes are better than ever. It is one of those you don’t know what you got ‘till it’s gone situations.