I donít know exactly why, but I feel the need to practically re-write this column every few years. Those of you have read the gist before, bear with me. New readers of this space, let this sink in and pass it on if you feel the need.
Open letter to all those signing football scholarships on Wednesday:
First of all, congratulations. You are a member of an exclusive fraternity. You are one of tiny percentage of little boys who grew up dreaming of playing college football and are about to do its. We all played out the scenario in the backyard. A game-winning catch or run for your favorite team as the fight song plays and the crowd goes wild. That visual canít come true for the overwhelming majority of your high school teammates and opponents. And for an even smaller percentage of the signees, youíAll live that out too.
For those who havenít been on the floor of a stadium when itís rocking, 100,000 or so screaming for or against you, itís an adrenaline rush like no other. Forget about the millions watching on television, taping your every move for prosperities sake. Itís a rush.
Free place to live, eat and get an education too. Books, fees and tuition are all off your parentsí worry-list. You got this.
Do you ever. I've been inside the ropes, the dressing rooms, the halftime speeches and the never-ending film sessions. And a lot of it isn't nearly as fun as it looks. Succinctly, you are about to earn every shard of praise and favoritism you will ever experience. Know that position coach whoís been telling you how good you are and have a chance to be a special player, maybe even make that level where you earn millions?
Wait until you get a load of the personality change he goes through between now and the beginning of fall camp. On that day, likely the first practice, you'll see it. Suddenly, you are slow as molasses, your footwork is pathetic and you donít know beans about football. And the news will come in volumes you've only experienced while playing that stuff you listen to in your car right now. Is he talking to me?
Uh-huh. Thereís a reason a lot of parents donít get invited to watch their kid practice. Itís brutal, itís physical and it can be discouraging, especially with a drill sergeant voice in the ear every step of the way. The games are mostly fun, unless you wind up facing an overpowering opponent who embarrasses you in front of family, friends and your fellow classmates. No matter what you do, you canít handle him.
And be assured those same coaches are recruiting players that play the same position you've been promised. He may be the equivalent to Johnny Football. Your playing days, for all intents and purposes, may be over. Donít think for one second college football isn't a business. You, eventually, will feel like a pawn in that business.
Sorry, donít mean to be a downer, especially at this highest point of your life thus far. Just know if the road takes several twists and turns that might not be fair in your eyes, remember, this was your dream. And also that somebody cautioned you there was more to college football than sis-boom-bah. Good luck.
Phil Paramoreís column appears Tuesdays in the Dothan Eagle. He can be heard weekday from noon until 2 on AM 560 WOOF, 100.1 FM and at www.woofradio.com. He can be reached at the same website.