Hard work goes unnoticed

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 14, 2004

A lot goes into a Friday night high school football game.

Of course you have to have football players, coaches and referees, however there are many aspects that you don’t see going on behind the scenes.

Just like football players, cheerleaders and band members work in the blistering heat to prepare for the upcoming season. From building pyramids to learning drill, a lot of hard practice and preparation is needed.

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I should know because outside of being a cheerleader, I’ve done it all. Lets just say that I don’t look good in a skirt and my legs were too hairy.

I decided to play football the summer before my freshman year at Corner High School, which is located in the northeast &uot;corner&uot; of Jefferson County.

I may not have started out my football career a good player, but I have to say I turned out to be pretty good.

I remember the first day of summer practice in pads very well. My coach, Steve Kelley, somehow found out that the only football I had played was backyard football, so of course he partnered me up with the hardest hitter on the team, Michael Berger.

The first couple of times Michael knocked my block off. At one point I nearly stripped him of his pants because I was unable to tackle him.

As summer practice continued, my fears of hitting faded and I began giving some pretty good licks. In fact, it earned me a starting linebacker job.

Later that season, I broke my ankle in practice, but instead of sitting on the sidelines, I chose to suck it up like most jocks do and play the despite the injury.

The night after my injury, I shaved my ankle, taped it tight and begged the coaches to let me play. It was homecoming and I had to play. The coaches agreed and I got to play in the homecoming contest.

Even though I didn’t play like myself, I did pick off my first and only pass of my short football career.

Following the season, I hung up my cleats because of my ongoing ankle problems that I still endure today.

After my football stint, I decided to join Corner’s marching and concert band. If there was anyway for me to be involved in sports I was going to do it. Luckily I was in the Mortimer Jordan High School marching band in the seventh grade, so I already had experience.

Besides beating each other’s heads in and all the running, football camp and band camp were very similar.

In both football and band, you have to learn a whole lot and had to survive the summer heat.

Football players learn a lot of plays. Band members have to learn a lot of music. Both take a lot of dedication and practice, so nothing should be taken away from either.

As for the heat, I almost passed out while standing at attention my sophomore year and I didn’t ever come close to passing out at football camp.

Don’t forget the colorguard, dance teams and twirlers and all the routines that they have to learn. They too have a lot to learn and the heat to deal with.

Even though some schools do allow male cheerleaders, my school didn’t allow it. But I dated enough cheerleaders to know that they work hard as well.

I can recall many Friday night dates being cancelled due to competitions the following Saturday. I also remember seeing the cheerleaders still practicing following football and band practices.

So when football season kicks off in the next couple of weeks, just remember that everyone there has been working hard all summer.

Take it from me, I know.

Adam Prestridge is sports editor of The Greenville Advocate. He can be reached at 382-3111, ext. 122 or by e-mail: adam.prestridge@greenvilleadvocate.com