I had to drive out to Big Horn twice this week to try and catch the Rams, out in the rain, warming up for their summer football camp. I expected to be irritated with and uninterested by a sport that was, by all accounts, out of season.
But when I saw that lopsided leather ball, I realized that I was perfectly alright with it.
Maybe it was because of the pretty turf field. Those turf fields sure are wonderful. Aside from the “appearing homeless” stigma that comes with sleeping outdoors, I think I could sleep on a turf field.
Sheridan County teams have taken to the gridiron before school is out, before they begin brutal AC-DC-laced weight room sentences, making sure things run smoothly for football camp.
Watching the Sheridan Broncs run plays Wednesday, through a blustery rainstorm, I was impressed with the fluid and mostly mistake-free football I witnessed.
Usually, an early season practice is riddled with linemen jumping offsides. Just kidding, not just them. Receivers do it, too. Probably even more often. Wide receivers are such hot shots. Poor linemen can’t catch a break.
Anyways, the Broncs weren’t jumping offsides, holding steady through three and four cadence snapcounts.
That’s impressive. At the high school level, something as simple as avoiding false start penalties usually separates a bottom-tier team from a top-tier one. If a team can establish itself as a mistake-free squad in May, I’d say you’re doing something right and you have a nice little head start. Plus, then you learn the system instead of messing up and having to run sprints while puking your guts out during those stupid-hot August months.
I read an Associated Press story this week about Peyton Manning’s offseason preparation and how he’s shifted back to his mad scientist detail-oriented football, from where last year he was learning a new system. Great, now that his head has been re-fastened to his body by a repaired neck for a year, he’s gone back to being that annoying 1-year-old who babbles overcooked cadences to the befuddlement of no one. Seriously, Oop-Dee-Oop, double-scoop Texas Tornado, Red 80 Button Hook, Niner Sweep Right-Zig Blue Dallas Forty is not necessary, Peyton. A 5-yard curl is a 5-yard curl.
Whether it’s nonsensical nothing pigskin talk or in-depth analysis, football is one of those things that always goes down smooth. No matter the time of year or the time of day, I can always watch football, write about football, or even just think about football. When I’m down in the dumps, I like to think about the time that Vince Young scampered for a TD against USC in 2006. Vince Young probably thinks about it when he gets down in the dumps, too. Other times, I just search for Keith Jackson videos on YouTube and listen as his dulcet tones narrate classic college games. There’s one video of him just talking about pancakes. And it’s awesome.
“Just the other morning I had breakfast at Tracy Rocker’s house his momma brought out 15 flapjacks, and I said ‘Momma take back five of them flapjacks, I gotta stay HUUUNNNGRY FOR THE CRIMSON TIDE.’”