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Mark Thomas

When does football season really start?

Posted February 17, 2009

I’ll never forget January of 1995. I had just finished my first college football season, and it was awesome. We had just won the Peach Bowl, and I was so glad to get some time off to myself. Fitting in classes around film study, meeting more than Congress, and grueling practices was a difficult way to start college, but very rewarding with the success we had on the field. That’s when I was informed about something that was talked about in the locker room, but definitely was NEVER mentioned on my recruiting visits, Winter Workouts!!! You get your evenings all to yourself, however sunrise belonged to my coaches. 6 am winter workouts started in what was the biggest “wake-up call” of my life, literally!

Fans of college football see what happens to their team 12 times a week on Saturdays from August to November. Die-hard fans also check out scrimmage s in August and April. NOBODY gets to see their team in January and February. Not that you would want to either. There’s nothing like the smell of a 6 am weight room, full of sixty or seventy guys who just rolled out of bed (showerless) puking their guts out from what was eaten (or drank) the night before. You find out real quick what good kitty litter can do.

Do you really want to know where champions are made? Do you want to see the part of football, where guys earn their scholarships? Then here it is.

Success in December starts with the January morning workouts. It’s the farthest point from actual football you can get on the calendar. Unless, your team went undefeated, there was a lot of unfinished business that was left on the field the season before. It’s a helpless feeling to think about the “what-ifs” of the season before. Not to mention, you’re going to workout in a room without any fanfare, and now that you think about it, your fans are actually more excited about a group of recruits that are going to be brought in to take your position!! That “bad taste” in your mouth will feed your soul motivation. And you’re going to need it!

You show up at 6 am to a group of coaches that apparently stayed up all night to come up with drills that they lifted from a terrorist group. An hour of footwork, agilities, sprints, and God knows what else. No breaks. Just to make sure you’re not waiting around they split you up into groups to keep the lines shorter. About half way through, your brain has been telling you that you have made a big mistake. College football is not for you!! Humans should not be subjected to this sort of torture. You ignore what it’s saying. The leg muscles start to give way. These aren’t cramps that happened twenty minutes ago. YOUR BODY WANTS TO SHUT DOWN!!!

You come to a crossroad in your life. There is a decision that has to be made. Are you going to be a quitter or a CHAMPION. I have seen on many occasions guys leave the workout room, not just for the morning but for good! This is the point at which a light bulb comes on. Like a scene out of a movie in which you can see things nobody else sees. These coaches aren’t trying to get you in the greatest physical shape of your life (which is happening). They’re developing your mental toughness. Your mental fortitude. You can’t quit, you won’t quit, you are going to squash any question in your mind of giving in. You are no longer building body strength, but rather mental resolve. In August, when it’s a hundred degrees and you want to end it, your coach can give you a reason to keep up the fight. “You didn’t all those winter workouts to give in now!”

Just remember fans, next September, when it’s the fourth quarter and your team needs a big stop. That 300 pound D-Tackle out there with his hands on his hips doesn’t need you to remind him to fight through it. He can because he’s climbed that mountain before, and he’s about to do it again. GAME ON!

3 Comments

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  • acsoccer87 Feb 18, 12:36 a.m.

    Great article by MT...unfortunate guys like dookstate have to come in without even reading it and make a smug comment that has absolutely nothing to do with the content of it. It has to suck to be bitter for the majority of your life. Wake up and be positive instead of trying to tear people down by every comment you make. And if you're going to be negative at least have a valid point.

  • cdcd48 Feb 17, 9:19 p.m.

    The point of Thomas's article is not a distraction from the current sports being played. Thomas's article describes the dedication that all athletes must have to play at the college level and beyond, something that is usually and easily overlooked by fans---especially those with no personal knowledge.

    As for Dook's reply, great reading comprehension skills---oh wait, is Dook one of the myriad toothless sycophants that call themselves "UNC fans", but yet have no real connection to the academic side to that institution? If not, Dook's a terrible representative for UNC-Chapel HIll.

    Great article, Mark Thomas!

  • DookStateSucks Feb 17, 2:45 p.m.

    Typical Wolfpacker. Another, just wait until football, basketball, etc. Whatever is NOT being played at the current time.

  • CBB: North Carolina vs. Ohio State

    Saturday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: UCLA vs Kentucky

    Saturday at 3:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: San Diego at San Francisco

    Saturday at 8:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Panthers vs. Cleveland

    Monday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • WBB: Duke vs. UMass Lowell

    Tomorrow at 6:30 pm on 620am

  • NFL: Philadelphia at Washington

    Saturday at 4:25 pm on 620am

Scoreboard
Local
Final
CAR 4
TOR 1
Final
DUKE 66
UCONN 56
Final
CHI 103
NYK 97
Final
HOU 90
NOP 99
Half
SAC 54
MIL 57
 
2nd
GSW 32
OKC 40
 
Final
RICE 72
STTHOMASTX 61
 
Final
UVA 70
CLST 54
Final
LIU 69
FIU 58
 
Final
STET 67
GSOUT 76
 
Final
QUIN 80
LEH 65
 
Final
SFLA 69
SHU 89
Final
RICH 65
SALA 54
Final
CAN 60
USB 59
 
Final
DEL 62
TEMPL 82
Final
WCU 56
WRST 69
 
Final
VERM 56
YALE 57
 
Final
SDKST 75
IDST 72
 
Final
RIDE 62
MRGST 48
 
Final
LATU 79
NICST 54
 
Final
CHAR 75
APP 65
Final
MISS 71
CCAR 68
 
Final
DUKE 66
UCONN 56
Final
BRAD 80
EUREK 38
 
Final
PEAY 76
OAKC 52
 
Final
JST 66
SMISS 46
 
Final
SD 55
MNTST 53
 
Final
UAB 70
LSU 79
1st OT
EVAN 79
OHIO 69
 
2nd
CSFU 38
CSDH 30
 
2nd
ORST 48
DEP 29
 
2nd
PAC 39
NEV 22
 
2nd
USF 52
PORST 22
 
Half
IDAHO 49
WALLA 18
 
Half
UTST 20
CALST 18
 
Final
PIT 1
COL 0
Final
PHI 1
FLA 2
Final
CAR 4
TOR 1
Final
CLB 4
WAS 5
Final
MON 1
ANA 2
1st Intermission
SJS 0
EDM 1
 
1st
LOS 1
STL 3
 
Final
JAC 21
TEN 13