Football season is here. We now have full padded practice going on and the season is literally a few days away. Fall football practice is the test of life for many players. This takes me back to my early days of coaching. So of course that is what I am going to write about this week.
My first year of coaching started out at Jacksboro Middle School of course. I did not even want to do it but my best friend Steven Robbins, God rest his soul, talked me into it. I really did not know what I was doing going in but he and I were given the junior varsity team to work with. I did the line work, Steven did running backs and linebackers, and I am thinking we had somebody else doing receivers and defensive backs but I do not remember who that was.
I can say this I was an absolute tyrant. I mean I was on the level that Darth Vader himself would have shaken his head at how brutal I was. I literally carried a kendo stick; a lacquered rattan wooden used for practicing sword fighting, and hit the players in their helmets with it when they messed up. Granted it couldn’t actually hurt them through their helmets but it is still something that I imagine would get me fired and arrested if I did it today.
There was also much running. I literally ran the players for the smallest of transgressions. I got a sick thrill from making them throw up. I figured I would have a very fit team with this method.
It turns out my methods basically kept us from having a JV squad at all. We started out with about 25 sixth graders on the team. After a week we were down to four. Those four were Anthony Douglas, Patrick Nichols, Bill Rutherford, and Josh Cureton. They all went on to be great players at Jacksboro in spite of my awful treatment.
I ran into Bill last night at Charley’s Pizza after Jacksboro had a scrimmage. We talked about our time together as player and coach both at Jacksboro and later CCHS. He remembers it as fondly as I do. In fact he was telling people how lucky they had it with their coaches because none of them were as harsh as what he had to deal with. I am glad none of those four hate me because lord knows I gave them plenty of reason to.