Gearing Up For 2019 Season

It may be only August 7, but football is in the air.  Maybe not fall weather, but football weather.  Hot, and more hot.  Have seen many of the Jackets thru the summer.  Look slim and trim.  And working out at 6 AM will make them better and more disciplined. The 2019 Jackets have a great opportunity, that being a team that could break many barriers  And over the next few weeks we will talk about those barriers.

But today, if you will indulge me for a moment, will reflect on “the good old days”. I remember vividly the August two a days. In 1964-67 practice began at 8 AM.  Full pads.  Shorts and shoulder pads were a reward, like maybe at the end of the week.  Practice for both practices were 2 1/2 hours.  Two water breaks.  10 minutes.  Each player got two salt tablets and 6 ounces of water.  Go measure out 6 ounces of water!  Most had a hard time getting the salt tablets down. Many never tried, but when the coaches found you did not take them, you ran extra.  Afternoon practices began around 5 PM,and lasted at least 2 1/2 hours. Two cups of 6 ounce water, and the four salt tablets.  I know, it sounds crazy to me now too.  But then, it was what everyone did.  Our Coaches reminded us often that the Brady Bulldogs were doing the same, and likely not complaining. So there was little com-plaining in front of the Coaches.

Looking back, do not know how the Coaches  kept from killing a few players.  But no one died.  Just what everyone did.  After practice most all ran to the Burger Bar.  It had swamp cooler air conditioning.  Cool air.  Most drank cherry Dr. Peppers, but Coaches preached that we were making it hard on ourselves by drinking such poison.  Carbonated water was bad for you.  But I do not remember anyone dying from Dr. Peppers. The salt tablets could kill you.  We all knew that for sure.

My Dad, Corkey Virdell put air conditioning in our home when I was a senior.  Before that, my two brothers ( Micky and Mark) and I slept on cots in the back yard when school let out out in May and did not go back into the house to sleep until September.  We thought it was cool. It was cooler.  It was crazy, but when we got in from morning practice, friends went to each others homes to lay around until afternoon practice.  And we played football in the backyard. Between practices.  It’s what everyone did.

For some good reason, it always rained in August.  Every year I was in high school, there was a hurricane in the Gulf, and up thru Del Rio it would come.   Bringing hard rains, and at least one cancelled practice.  Players kept the Coaches informed of the most recent weather forecast. Not for sure if they appreciated it, but it was part of what we did.

My four years at Llano High School were the best times of my life.  I was with my friends, and I was around Coaches that I thought were the smartest and coolest people that I had ever known.  I knew they worked us hard to make us better. And they talked about life, and goals, and being true to oneself.  The hard work was secondary.  Life was perfect. And football practice was just what we all did.

My comments over the 47 years writing “Play To Win” have many times mentioned to the Jackets to enjoy the ride.  Absorb every minute.  It is the best time of your life.  And when it is 104 degrees and you think you cannot go on….sure you can. For 100 years Llano Yellow Jackets have been doing the same.  No one said it would be easy. But it will be life changing.  And you are with your friends, and learning from Coaches that Care about you, and want the best for you. And beating Brady and other guys that you out-worked.  Just remember, Wimberley is doing the same.  So enjoy the ride.  This is the best part of life.

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