Today marks the first day of scrimmages for many teams across the state.
Since last Friday players have been working their tails off trying to make the cut. By now most teams have settled on their core players and cut the roster down to a manageable size. Many hopefuls relegated to the ranks of JV and B team status much to their displeasure.
Those that are fortunate enough to make the cut will now get to test their mettle against a different color helmet for the first time as a varsity football player. For those that get that privilege, it won't take but one good lick to figure out that they are in a completely different ballgame at this level. No longer are they the stud, now they are the new guy and will be hunted down by upperclassman to make sure they don't forget it. Some will shy away, most will not and that my friend is where they start learning how to take the licks that come with playing varsity football in South Carolina.
Over the last few year's players from our great state have started to get more and more attention from the national press and the college coaches from around the country. One of the primary reasons for this is the excellent coaching across the state. Not just in football fundamentals, also in discipline and work ethic that is so important at the next level.
Coaches spend an enormous amount of time and effort grooming not just the star athletes that will go to the next level, but with every young man in the program. Coaches understand that the game itself and the discipline it demands will carry over into the lives of everyone who plays regardless of whether they continue in college or not. For maniac fans across the state this first day of scrimmages holds a significance that can only be described as being much like an addict getting a long desired fix.
You have watched the practices and seen the guys hit but it just is not the same as seeing the boys going at it against another team for the first time that year. That is when the real scrutiny starts both by us the fans, but the coaches especially. This is where jobs a won and lost. Coaches are looking for veterans and how they have improved from last year. They look for signs of promise in the new guys on the team.
Make no mistake, many guys who thought they would start this year will not, and many who were not figured in as a factor will start because of this days scrimmage and the 3 or 4 left before opening night.
Finally, on this day when foe faces foe on the field of battle for the first time this year, let us all stop for a moment and say a prayer for coaches to continue to impart the wisdom on our sons, the players to stay healthy and safe from injury. The bands, the cheerleaders and all the support staff across the state that make Friday night happen every fall and the fans, especially ones like us, to stay out of trouble at work(me especially), have safe travels to the games and most importantly remember why we love this game so much.
Testosterone levels this high in an old man like me can be dangerous…….. In the famous words of that guy who introduces the fighters……. Let's get ready to rumbllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllle!!!!
Have a great season folks!