Column/Favorite things about high school football

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 7, 2006

Today is the beginning of football season.

Sure, the games don’t begin for a few more weeks, but AHSAA teams begin practice today, and AISA teams have been on the field for more than a week.

Today, you officially have the right to go crazy.

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With the beginning of a new season comes a seemingly endless line of subplots.

Who will repeat? Who will get better? What players will shine above all others?

The answers will come in due time, my friends.

For right now, two-a-days and hydration are the biggest things on the minds of coaches and players.

But it won’t be that way for long.

Although baseball is my first love, football is my little somethin’ on the side.

And I’ll tell you why when we go down “The List.”

5. The smell of the game – Sounds weird, I know. But I’ve heard smell is the most effective sense for triggering memory. And nothing smells like a Friday night.

Fresh cut grass, concession stands and dozens of uniforms that are still rancid no matter how much extra-strength detergent you use.

It’s beautiful, man, beautiful.

4. Controlled chaos – It amuses me how much entertainment we get from watching a game like this.

Just think about this honestly. Is hurling yourself full speed at someone with the intent of putting him on the ground a natural act? Ummm, not so much.

And then there’s the crowd mentality. In general, concern for an injured player comes second to admiration for the hit that took him down in the first place.

But we accept it. Why?

First of all, the odds are favorable that any and all players will walk off the field unharmed.

And second, it’s just plain fun to watch.

You know what they should do, though? To kinda balance out all the violence and testosterone, they should have cute girls in minimal clothing hollering on the sidelines.

(Whispering in my ear) Oh really? Since when? That long, huh?

People, just disregard that last statement.

3. The chess match – The art of playcalling will always intrigue me.

I think the way different coaches do it is the most fun thing about it.

Some guys rigidly stick to a script. Others go by instinct and feel, kinda like using the force.

But most are right down the middle – having a gameplan then adjusting as needed.

Either way, it’s always fun to watch a good back-and-forth between sidelines.

Move one pawn here. Sail a bishop over there. And then bam, checkmate!

Uhhh, I mean touchdown.

2. December – In Alabama, six teams emerge from the pile as the top of their classes every year.

Winning in Birmingham is what it’s all about.

And for most kids that play, it’ll be the last and most prominent moment they’ll ever have in sports.

Come to think of it, it’s got to be the only time it’s acceptable to cry while you’re totally covered in sweat.

1. The “Fool, please” – Ahh, yes, my favorite of favorites.

Some of you may remember I made mention of this in a column several months ago.

Again, I’ll reiterate that there is no more exciting moment in the game.

When a ball carrier stiff arms a defender and denies him a tackle, that’s a “Fool, please.” Running him straight over also counts.

On the flip side, when a linebacker turns someone into road grease, that’s a “Fool, please.”

A quarterback jukes out of a sack and turns a negative play into a first down? Say it with me – “Fool, please!”

It really should be an official statistic.

Also List-worthy: Pour-and-mix Gatorade; double-post goals; “We love you (insert name here)” ads in programs; the Wing-T; homemade mascot costumes; and the guy in the first row that knows everything about every team at the school since 1968.

George L. Jones is sports editor for The Selma Times-Journal. He can be reached at .