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Either too tough, or too dumb to tell

Every year when high school players strap on the pads it makes me a little nostalgic.

I miss playing football a little more every year.

If you had told me ten years ago I would miss all the hard work and sweat I would have called you crazy. But every year I wish I could go back to those days a little more.

I learned lot out there on the practice field from Coach Jimmy Warr. He was a man who knew how to get his point across. Sometimes he had a very unique way of putting it, but in the end it all made sense.

I think everyone that played football for him could sit around all afternoon and tell Coach Warr stories. I have my fair share too.

He used to call me "Steroid" (I'm sure you can all see the irony) and he knew how to get me in a blind fit before games. He used to tell me I was either tough or too dumb to feel pain. Either way I was too scared of him not to get the job done.

When I tell people just how much respect this man had from his players they find it hard to believe. But it was true. We never, ever let on to him if we were hurting. Unless something was broken we would always be out there because we were scared to do otherwise and didn't want to let him down.

Once I even slipped my finger out of joint at the very beginning of practice and just left it there. I had no intention of letting "the man" knows. I just hid it for the rest of the day and after practice had it fixed. There were a lot of people that hid a lot worse injuries than that.

It was silly of us really. He was really very easy to deal with if you were honest with him. As tough as he was on the field he was really pretty understanding off it. He always had a joke or something funny to say. Even if it was at your expense people never really took it personally.

As far as Coach Warr was concerned there were two groups of people at my school. There were those who quit and would tell you he was a lunatic. They swore up and down that he was crazy. He had a special name for them that I cannot repeat in a family paper.

On the other side there were those of us who swore by him. All we knew was he was a winner. We also knew if we stuck with him he could make us winners too.

I learned a lot from "the man" busting my tail out there. Every time the season begins I wish I could be out there a little more. I dreaded the practices, especially after the rare losses. But I know I am a better man for having gone through it.

"The man" was tough, but he was fair. There were no favorites. I wish there were more like him around today.

I may still have some aches and pains that a 27-year-old would not normally have. At the same time I have a wealth of knowledge about how people work and what it takes to succeed.

Coach Warr has just as much respect from me today as he did the first time he gave me a good shake by the face mask. I don't think anyone who played for him will ever forget him.

Rick Couch may be reached at

383-9302, ext. 132 or

via email at rick. couch@greenvilleadvocate.com.