Saturday, June 7, 2014

It is Not Very Often I Write About This...

...but here goes.  I just coached a group of kids that I'm extremely proud of.  A little background may help.  I've been at this job now on my second stint, and we've had our ups and downs.  Been good enough to make it to the second round of the playoffs, and been bad enough to go 0-10 in a span of 10 years or so.  Anyhow, we've been down for a while, and it's been very troubling dealing with it.  Today was a breath of fresh air, as we traveled to a local camp that had several other schools there.  We were the smallest public school at the event, but by far, the smallest school football participation-wise.  We brought 9 guys to this camp, which was a 7 on 7 tournament.  Of the 9, we had all our starters on offense but one.  Defensively we had only three starters from our spring game, less than two weeks ago.  Needless to say I was scrambling!  Anyhow, we show up in a ratty ol' school bus, while all the other city boys and private school snobs show up in their nice cars or have mommy and daddy drop them off.  No school there had less than 30 guys.  Every school there two platooned.  It looked like we were headed to the meat grinder, but they don't know these kids.  We were laughed at, mocked, made fun of, you name it.  No big deal.  We looked like the bad news bears.  Tattered shirts and shorts, ramshackle coolers and water bottles.  No team jerseys.  The only thing we had that resembled being part of organized football was the fact we all had the same helmets.

So yesterday, we rolled through the competition, running 5 route concepts on offense (we are shotgun wing-t) and running 1 coverage (Quarters).  We had 7 interceptions in 3 games yesterday.  When we'd switch from offense to defense, 1 RB would come out, and our MLB would come in.  That was it.  On the other side of the ball, a fresh new 11 came in to face us.  We played in some blistering heat, but our guys never let up, never quit, kept on competing and came away from the day 3-0.  We were gassed.  I didn't think we had another day in us, and to win it all today we would have to win a total of 5 games.

Today we rolled up the same as yesterday.  The rag-tag bad of Devil's Rejects rolled off the bus and went straight to work again.  You could tell we were tired though.  We kept plugging, kept fighting, kept scratching and kept clawing our way, all the way into the semi-final round.  We ended up losing to the eventual runner-up, but we left that camp with all those hob knobs having a new respect for us and our guys.  You see, we're the town folks make fun of.  We're the blunt end of redneck and racist jokes around our area.  We are the little red headed step child.   For the past six years, our kids have been fine with that role.  They've been happy to be the whipping boy for every team in our area.  They've not batted an eye to 40 something to nothing ass whippings.  Somethings different in these kids though.  They play with a chip on their shoulders.  They play pissed off.  They see your nice things.  They see the Benz your mother just dropped you off in.  They see those fresh-ass Nike gloves you're wearing.  They also know, that don't mean shit in the arena.  Money don't help you none when you step in our house.  When it's time to play, if you're gonna beat us, you're gonna have to our work us, and if you can out work a bunch of farm boys, you got another thing coming.  Today we took a major step forward in the revitalization of this program.  We've not had many bright days over the programs 50 year existence (an overall .376 win percentage), but it's times like these when I can smile being proud of kids from the same town I am.  It has been a long time since I was this proud, and back then I was a young coach that didn't know to think very much of it.  I do know, and I'm damn proud to coach the guys I got.

Like I said, I don't write much about this stuff, but if you saw what I saw the last two days, you'd be proud too.