Aquilla Cougars Practice 2020
By Dency McClure
My morning started off like a royal disaster. I left on time, meaning I had a 15 minute cushion so I should arrive early. The GPS powers begged to differ. I realized pretty quick that I was on the wrong road, so I pulled over to take a look. Wouldn’t you know it, no service. So, I headed back the way I felt was right. Just as my GPS was coming back and I was glancing at it, I see the very nice officer that pulled me over the other day coming over the hill. I glanced at my speed and figured I was probably in for more than a warning. He turned and I disappeared over the hill. I won’t get into how I disappeared because it wasn’t dramatic like the Dukes of Hazzard. I then found the right road and was off.
By this time my time cushion was gone and I was feeling rushed and frustrated. I absolutely despise being late, even if only a few minutes. Once I was on the right path, I started thinking that I hoped nothing else went wrong before I got there. Yep, right at that very moment a bird dove directly into my windshield like a Kamikaze pilot. Luckily, all it took was a swipe of the wipers and a spray of washer fluid. By this time, I was laughing at it all.
I got to the field, and as I was gathering up my equipment I was greeted by Coach Earl in a hefty golf cart. He had seen me drive up and was there to give me a ride to the field. From that point on, my morning was like a luxury vacation. We got to the field, and I immediately noticed the thick lush dark green golf course grass. A ride and now this grass! I was informed the boys only get to practice on the real field on Fridays as a treat. I could see why.
I learned that it has taken at least three years of extremely hard work to earn that beautiful field of grass. They have a special mower, and I was told when it’s freshly mowed it looks like a fairway. It was so lush and thick, I left footprints as I walked. At one point in practice, a bit of the grass was disturbed. Coaches Espinosa and Earl jumped down on the ground and yelled out about the hurt field pounding a chunk back into the ground. It was quite the comedy routine and everyone was laughing including them.
There was one drill they did called “Get the Dummy.” Best drill I’ve seen all year. Everyone was working hard, laughing, and enjoying the cool morning together. At one point, the dummy got hit so hard, it lost its air. Coach Espinosa yelled out to hold up a minute because the dummy had died and needed time to inflate. This, of course, had us all in stitches.
During a water break, I had a brief visit with Coach Ball who was enjoying the day and the kids. I was offered a coke or water at one point during my stay. Like I said before, luxury vacation. The weather was cool, there was an excellent breeze that had the flag pole chains clinking. There was good music for a bit but apparently, the power gave out. In my high school days, the songs would get slower as the batteries ran down. Prince would slowly become more like Willie Nelson. Today, however, was the day the music died.
At one point, the coaches pulled out some jerseys for the boys to wear so they could split up. Coach Espinosa told the boys to be careful with them because they were vintage from some past year. One of the boys questioned him about it and then he told them they were really old jerseys from the junior high. One of the lineman was having a hard time getting his on. One player stepped in to help out. It ended up taking a couple of coaches and some strategic moves. This bunch of kids and coaches really do enjoy spending time together. They all were laughing, and the lineman was, too. Eventually the jersey was on, and it didn’t even look too small.
Not only did the boys have a fantastic time with their coaches, they were working hard and looking good. Tackling was on point and coaches were jumping in quickly to correct some little things. Definitely got some defense in Aquilla. Sometimes you hear the negatives about football and I know it can be dangerous, but I can tell you extreme amounts of practice time go into teaching safety and self protection. Learning to tackle safely takes time and good guidance from coaches and all three of these coaches were on it.
I didn’t stay to see the offense show its full talent, but I’m betting it was as good as the defense. It should be a good year for Aquilla.
When I said my goodbyes I was escorted away on the hefty golf cart. My luxury mini vacation had ended. I drove away from Aquilla with a smile and still chuckling a bit.
See you on the sidelines!
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