First Practice Always Divine

It seems that everyone, including those of us that follow High School Football for a living are just itching for the season to start.


It's officially high school football season once again so we can all let out the collective war whoop that we've been doing our best to keep buried within for the last two months or so.

Don't be shy, just let it all out. It's okay, I promise.

It's a good bet that the lady (or man in some cases) in your life has been expecting it anyway, and if you don't let it go sometime soon their going to haul you off to the doctor who'll do all that annoying probing and poking, and you don't want that now do you?

Right, I thought not. So, back to the task at hand.

Forget any notion you may have of the field of dreams being on a baseball diamond ( I don't care what Kevin Costner or James Earl Jones have to say about

it) because the gridiron is what kicks the populace in this state into overdrive on Friday nights.

On last Friday afternoon it was out to the practice field for the first official day of the 2002 high school football season, or heaven, depending on who you ask. My little piece of the good life took me out to Lexington County at around 3 p.m. for some work with the Class 2-A Swansea Tigers, before I made my way back into Orangeburg County for an early look at Tommy Brown's always athletic Bruins. And so far this week I've been out to see the OPS Indians of head coach Don Shelley, which is always a pleasure -- I'll be looking for my check coach.

All the players and coaches were pumped up, and to be honest with you ... psssst ... so was the sportswriter trying desperately not to jump into some of the receiver drills. I'm serious. It was all I could do not to jump in line and take a whack at some poor freshman trying to survive the blazing temperatures. Of course my luck would have been to draw some behemoth of an offensive lineman that would have flattened me like a brand spanking new section of county highway, but at least the spirit was there, right?

I wanted to ask coach Stroud if I could punt the pigskin a couple of times and have quarterback Chris Oliver toss me a pass on the give-and-go, coach Brown for a shot at covering all-region wideout Marc Smiley, and coach Shelley for one go round with linebacker Britton Whetsell.

It's testosterone run amok I know, but it sure is a fun idea anyway.

Of course, that's because I only thought about it. The fantasy was pretty cool, but the reality would probably not have been anything to write home about.

A bulked up Oliver would have thrown a bullet of a pass that I probably would have dropped, Smiley would have left me standing useless like a scarecrow guarding a barren field while streaking for the end zone, and I'd probably STILL be icing myself down from where Whetsell would likely have deposited me on my posterior for my trouble.

That's right, discretion is often the better part of valor and I deserved a medal for not going through with that one.

But then again ... I do have several more stops to make in preparation for our 2002 football edition. Places like Calhoun Academy, Bamberg-Ehrhardt, Pelion, Edisto, H-K-T and Woodland.

And you just never know when the heat of the upcoming high school football season will grab hold with its feverish grip.

Mike Rosier may be reached by e-mail at or by office phone at 803-533-5529.


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