Football is practice for college

By John Heule
Every fall Friday night, high school boys across the country put on their uniforms and perform under the lights for their school. To some it is entertainment, others a hobby or physical exercise, but to me it’s more than that. Football is practice for college. Three philosophies guide my belief:

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Number one: The test is in practice
In perspective, football players are rarely at a game, much less participating in a play. Senior year, my team had a weekly schedule of about 35 hours of preparation for only 5 minutes of game play. Weeks included the following: organized practice for 20 hours including one hour of film of the upcoming competition watched ten times over in a classroom, 5 hours in the training room seemingly icing every part of our body, and playbook or film study for homework. Finally, after a day of mom’s pictures, coach’s pregame speeches, and warm-up, we hopped on the field for a couple hours, and ran an average of 40 plays, each lasting about 7 seconds. Saturday mornings the team met for another 3 hours to workout, and watch our mistakes and great plays. Winning was directly correlated with more preparation than the competition, and the team could never gauge how much preparation was enough until the victor was decided at the last whistle. The idea of preparation has followed through other parts of my life especially school. Papers take ten drafts before I can turn them in, and tests come only three times a semester. I have to give my best in studying, because I am blind to the difficulty of the test before I take it.

Number two: Players show up.
Football players aren’t allowed to be late, or miss a practice. If a player is sick, a coach will tell him to put his pads on and get healthy for the game. Great coaches do this because they know that they can teach anyone to play. All players, 100-400 Pounds need to be smart, to make up for physical deficiencies. As long as players are willing to learn and dedicate themselves to getting better, good coaches can make any talent into a winning team. I have learned that showing up to class and being on time to my commitments make people willing to help me, which usually makes the difference between an A and a B.

Number three: The career ends quickly
At the end of a player’s career, he feels like he has been stripped of the time commitment that runs his life. Football is just a game, and can’t be played forever. He finds out really what is meaningful to him and what is worth fighting for. He has the tools now to accomplish his goals. At that point it matters not what he has achieved, what trophies high jumping or squat records he has, it matters only what he will do with his experience. I miss football, but it helps me to realize that my whole first semester is a football season.