Monday, August 08, 2011

Stop. Dying.

Here it comes...get ready...TIMBERRRRRRRRR!!!
Today is one of those days where I get real. Serious issues...FO REALZ. There is no doubt that August is the worst month on the calendar and if you don't agree, then you never played football. You think football is all Friday Night Lights and toothy cheerleader blowjobs and camaraderie and kicking the shit out of your opponents? Well, it isn't. Sure, those things that I listed are all great, I'm sure, but it all comes with a price. That price being...practice. Iceman has said it before and I'll repeat his wise words, "the smell of August grass makes me puke". So true. Because before you get to gamedays, you have to suffer (and I do mean suffer) through two-a-days.

This is becoming more and more of an issue over the past decade. To be honest, I can't really remember players collapsing on the field and eventually dying before that case at Northwestern in the late 90's (I think it was the late 90's) and then Korey Stringer. Now it seems like it happens somewhere in the country at least once a week. Like I said, I don't remember this ever being a problem in football until recently. But now, two-a-days have become a lightning rod for social debate as if they are the worst thing in the world.

Let me tell you how we did things at NHS under soon-to-be-fired Johnny S. We had two-a-days for three or four weeks. They all sucked. Every single one of them. You get to the school at 7:30 AM. You're on the field at 8 AM until around 11 for offensive practice. You shower and eat lunch in the air-conditioned school and maybe take a shitty nap in the hallway. Do you know how gross it is to put a helmet and shoulder pads that are completely drenched with sweat back on? It's miserable. At 1 or 1:30, you're back out for session two which is all defense and lasts for another three hours. Three days a week, you had 30 to 60 minutes of post two-a-day lifting to do, too. You get home around 6 and want no one to talk to you. Lather, rinse, repeat until school starts. Most people dread the start of school. I did not because it meant that THE SHIT was over and it was smooth sailing for the rest of the season.

The point is, it was tough. Really tough, just as much mental as it was physically exhausting. Naptown Wolverine once took a forearm to the chest during lineman drills only to have the impact make him shit his pants. Watching him sprint to the locker room with a poopy diaper still makes me laugh. That story had no point to this post but I wanted to mention it anyway because guys shitting their pants will never stop being funny. Back to the topic at hand though, you sweated your balls off. It was made very clear to us that we must remain hydrated. And we did. They monitored our weight before and after every practice to make sure we weren't losing too much water. I imagine that they still do this.

Does it suck that guys are dying on the field? Of course. But I don't see things changing. In a way, they can't. The only thing that schools can really do is keep hammering the hydration aspect and MAYBE cutting the max time for each two-a-day (but coaches will never adhere to a time limit on their practices). I don't see one big-ass 4 hour practice doing much. That would suck ass. Kids need to be responsible enough of knowing when to say when, too. If it sounds like I'm blaming dead kids for dying on the field, well, I kind of am.  They need to communicate if they aren't feeling well and understanding their limits.  It will give them practice for when they start binge drinking in college! Also, is there any way that schools can have players sign a waiver relieving them of responsibility should something horrible happen on the field due to Little Jimmy not being able to handle 200 up-downs because he didn't drink any water over the last 12 hours? Stupid Jimmy.

When I was a freshmen playing freshmen football (obvs), I once passed out in between plays during practice. It was sort of scary. I remember feeling really lightheaded since it was a million degrees and the next thing I knew, I was lying on the ground. Do you know what happened next? Yep, my coach asked me to just make it through a few more plays since practice was almost over. HA! What if I had died? Whose blog would you read?  Dietrich and Shumaker tried to kill me but they could not!  I am invincible!

In conclusion, I believe that two-a-days, while not perfect, are a necessary evil for all levels of football (HS, college, pros). If I really wanted to sound crass, it's survival of the fittest, baby! Drago is right! If he dies, he dies! Basically, I've seen a lot of pussies last through a northwest Ohio August. If it can be done there, it can be done anywhere. Quit pussifying America, dead guys! Thoughts? Suggestions?  Especially from former football players...or the Phoneix-based law firm of Hastings & Hastings!

16 comments:

Grumpy said...

Require schools to build air conditioned indoor facilities.

Elk & Elk.

Anonymous said...

--I believe kids are spending too much time indoors playing video games and are not outside enough to become acclimated to the 90+ degree August "Dogs Days." If High Schools have scheduled conditioning days throughout the summer (running and lifting), the likelihood of Hdawg dying is lesser.
--Sometimes kids have heart defects or other issues that no "physical" will ever uncover. All you can say is shit happens....
--I laugh when I hear old timers who played back in the 50's and 60's say that they weren't allowed to drink water during practice because the common belief, at that time, was that it caused cramping. They also use to have the players eat salt tablets (never understood the logic.) You never heard about those fuckers dying. The best line I have ever heard was, "Water should only be used to wash the blood off of your jersey." WTF?
--Some players/teams don’t know what an up-down is. I was shocked at this discovery while in college. I sort of felt violated/abused by my H.S. coaches. I’m guessing there is a higher rate of death for those players/teams that make up-downs a part of their practice. Is the record still @275 at N.H.S?
--P.S. Mr. Downey is retiring. A special day of “Downey stories” would be hilarious… While typing I can only laugh at the thought of Coach Downey chasing the “The Jew” around in a circle while trying to kick him. Another quick one… the time he stood in the locker room door, at halftime, and said something like, “if you want to get play, you have to get past me…” I might have been the first to attempt to get past him and like a deer on ice; I was given a forearm shiver and went down hard…

-The Dutchman

Mr. Ace said...

Two-a-days accomplish absolutely nothing as far as conditioning, you realize that, right? There is absolutely no benefit to practicing twice a day, or practicing in 90 degree heat...especially when the sport is played in the fall...at night(usually). I get that it's fun to call kids pussies and talk about how this generation is fat and lazy(just like me), but it's all bullshit.

Kids can't be responsible for it. G Money, WHAT WAS YOUR LAST FUCKING STORY? You collapsed and the coach told you to finish practice!!! And because he is your coach you listened, just like every other kid out there. High schoolers, especially freshmen, trying to show their worth to their teammates and coaches aren't going to pull themselves out.

Two-a-days are stupid.

Anonymous said...

Shit. I put him in the labels but I forgot to reference the great Rush Propst, star of the best mtv reality series ever. Well, him and Repete's dad.

--$

Anonymous said...

Ace, I agree completely. Its a very flawed system but I don't see how it will ever change. Because really, how can it? Coaches can't control the weather or humidity. I do disagree that they are worthless though. You develop trust, as corny as that sounds, with your teammates.

Its a really weird feeling to pass out in full pads. Probably feels better than SHITTING YOUR PANTS though.

--$

Anonymous said...

I coach an 8th grade football team in suburban Columbus and I think there is one main factor that has lead to the recent rise in kids collapsing at practice. Kids don't have nearly the nutrition they had when we were kids. There is more junk food and pop readily available to kids than there used to be. We yell at these kids all the time to drink a ton of water when you get home, because if you drink it at practice it will not help you nearly as much. Very few listen. You can also tell that these kids are eating like shit when they are burning 4,000 calories a day and still gaining weight.

Dutchman also touched on the fact that these kids don't spend nearly the time outside as we did. I was going through adolesence around the same time video games were really becoming popular and every kid had a gaming system, but we still made time to swim in the pool, play home run derby, etc... These kids sit at home all day, which plays a factor when they are trying to go from no physical activity to 2 hours of conditioning.

-Lil' Strut

Anonymous said...

I bet that you're a terrible coach.

--everybody on the planet

Mr. Ace said...

Over the last 4, or so, generations people have become less healthy. Mostly because of bad diets and poor exercise. It's not just these kids. It was us. It was our parents. And possibly our grandparents too.

There is more information out there than ever before about healthy living. But the truth is it's cheaper and easier to be unhealthy. And pretty much everybody who comments here is from Ohio, I wonder if there is any difference in perception from different regions.

I thought for sure we would be talking UFC today.

Grumpy said...

Mr. Ace is making a ton of sense today.

Anonymous said...

Thats because Ace is a blob of a man, so he is speaking from experience.

Anonymous said...

Ace is killing it today.

--Drew

Anonymous said...

It should be noted that everyone agreeing with Ace never played. Doesn't male you wrong and nutrition does likely play a big role, but just sayin'.

--$

Anonymous said...

To expand on that claim; aren't the only people dying lineman? I mean, you don't here about any RB's or WR's dying from heat exhaustion. It's usually those fat fucks who sweat fried chicken grease on the field.

Just be glad you didn't go to a high school where the coaches were smart enough to pull off two a days DURING the school week. Nothing quite like mandatory "voluntary" practice that starts at 445am sharp. The only positive is that those two hours a day of pain and suffering won you sympathy with most teachers to either a) sleep in class or b) excuse yourself to the locker room to sleep. Our locker room was a sanctuary, and the only place I could comfortably take a wicked shit during the day.

-Ide

Prime99 said...

I played basketball rather than football (my HS football team sucked balls) making Christmas break our nightmare version of August football. I agree it is not stifling with the heat but after 8 hours of drills, lifting, and being emasculated, it was easy to hate Christmas break.

To make up for it, we played over 100 games from mid June to the first week of August (plus camp all day during the week.)

I'm not involved in coaching youth sports, but I believe CA does emphasize nutrition and hydration. I have friends who played for De La Salle and they run one of the toughest programs in the nation. No one ever dies because they balance rigorous work with nutrition and recovery. They make the players buy in and it seems to continue to work.

Interesting point about how no RBs are ever dying. Only huge linemen. I wonder if it's possible to make that position more healthy or safe?

Anonymous said...

The article below correlates body mass index to heat related deaths amongst football players.
.
"An analysis of 58 heat-related deaths among U.S. football players from 1980 to 2009 showed that about 80% involved players who were obese by the conventional definition of a body mass index >30,and 95% were overweight or obese.
Almost 90% of the deaths occurred among players in lineman positions, as reported online late last year (Int J Biometerol 2010; DOI:10.1007/s00484-010-0391-4)."
.
.
.
http://www.medpagetoday.com/Pediatrics/GeneralPediatrics/27909
.
-The Dutchman

Anonymous said...

Spending the rest of the day booking my super bowl weekend trip to Indy...

DougUI Worthington has been claimed by the Redskins! Who says that the Eagles won this offseason?

--$