Mount Ida Lion fans got a sneak peek at what the future holds for this year’s football season Thursday at the meet and greet held at the football field. The event also gives us a little insight into a contemporary football program.
The modern high school football program is a complex effort that is filled with many aspects most don’t think about.
Coach Mike White started the meet and greets to give fans an opportunity to not only get to know the newest players, but to also build on the tradition and history of the program. Many schools host scrimmage games, but they are not always a part of this event. This is a reflection of one of the facets of a coach’s job. He has to find a balance between giving the fans that much desired glimpse of what the team can do with keeping the players healthy and ready for the start of the season.
There were no scrimmages this year and Coach White stated that he didn’t have enough on his junior high roster for a scrimmage and his senior high would have to turn around a play in a jamboree a few days later. He didn’t feel comfortable putting his players at risk so there were no scrimmages. The fans understand and the anticipation for the season grows even stronger as they look forward to the first week of September and the opening of the season.
While old timers spin their tails of yesteryear one can’t help but think of the safety of these young men. In the past football started in August with “two a days”, which was filled with four weeks of grueling practices in the hottest part of the summer. Coaches scrambled to get players in shape and ready for the season.
Now preparations for the next season begin shortly after the completion of the last one. Players are ready to play. August is now more about tweaking the system then whipping players into shape. Scrimmage games used to give coaches an opportunity to see their players in action. On filed evaluations are now done during 7 on 7 competitions and team camps.
Fan support is essential in today’s football program. The stands were filled for the meet and greet with people who brought supplies for the locker room in lieu of admission. Soap and towel games are a tradition at some schools. These type of events provide much needed supplies for the program. With cost cutting always an issue at any school, any help for the program offers assistance to not only the football program, but the school.
Parents, friends and fans gathered at the field as members of the seventh grade, junior high and high school football teams were introduced, but they weren’t the only ones introduced. The band, cheerleaders, managers and coaches were also introduced.
Although the fans fill the bleachers to see the players on the field, the game night experience is much more than the game. The cheerleaders work to keep the fans into the game, while the band is the heartbeat of the team. The two work together to keep emotions high regardless of the action on the field.
Coaches and managers work on the sidelines to provide the players with whatever assistance they need to have an opportunity to win the game.
The Mount Ida Lions will open the season next week with the Junior Lions traveling to Two Rivers Thurs., Sept. 3, and the senior high team will open their season at home Fri., Sept. 4 against magazine.