By Dency McClure
I made it to Oglesby today. I got there early and drove around town. What a fantastic city park. They even have a splash pad there. I can honestly say that’s the first 1A town I’ve seen with a splash pad in their park. There are also nice homes and churches. The downtown has a little going on as well. All in all a great 1A town.
The road to the school was clearly marked. The school speed zone lights were flashing and all around the school was busy with kids getting picked up. I saw the stadium lights and meandered around the side of the school until I saw boys dressed in red headed over to an open area. I had found the place. Now all I needed was to park in some shade. Just down from the yard full of chickens was a nice deep shade.
Yes, you read that right. I don’t think any 1A town is truly 1A if there aren’t some chickens about. These chickens had it made. Nice shade trees, excellent feeder set up and wait for it...a pool. Yes, a beautiful blue wading pool in the shady yard. I was starting to wish I was a chicken in that amazing yard after a little time in the 108 temperature on the practice field.
I was greeted by Coach Dixon. I have known Jeb for a while now. I met him when he was coaching in Jonesboro. He is one of those people that makes you smile when you visit with him. He always has something funny to tell you. I noticed there is a bit less of Jeb. I gave him a new shirt that I hope fits him better than his old Six-man ones. He told me it may not fit just yet but he would take it.
Today he was wearing one of those clear face shields. He told me he knew he looked ridiculous, but that he needed the kids to see his face. I totally get that. I’ve had the teacher face. I can’t imagine teaching or coaching without the kids seeing that face when you need to play it.
I met the assistant coaches and practice began. There wasn’t much of a breeze and the 108 temp was physically crushing. You could tell the boys had acclimated to the heat. They did a couple of passing drills, ran some plays, worked on tackling etc. Not sure why but every time I see the tackle donut roll out, I can’t help but chuckle. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can literally google “tackle donut” and see one. Coaches roll them and players tackle them as they roll. Lots of coaches use them. It’s fun to see the kids jump and lift them etc. I could quickly tell these boys had perfected the donut. I was extremely impressed. I think I got some great photos of their talent.
During a quick water break, Coach Dixon pointed out an area next to the football field where new weight room facilities are going to be built. He told me how excited everyone is and how the future is looking bright. I noticed the number of players this year was way more than the numbers I saw last year. They have a great returning assistant coach and a new one that just finished his college football career at ASU. The boys were working together and doing well with their drills and plays. It definitely looks like the future has good potential.
I realized that the heat was doing a number on me and I’d better get out of it. I said my goodbyes and told Coach Dixon I better get off his field before he had to deal with a passed out woman. He chuckled and told me he didn’t blame me one bit for getting out of it. I was extremely glad I had parked in the shade. I said my goodbyes to the happy chickens and got back in the air conditioning.
See you on the sidelines!
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