July 27th, 2000
Well our first loss of the season. WAKE UP! And we sure did in last Monday’s practice. Full tilt. All the pads on. Bull in the Ring. I almost got a concussion. My jaw got popped. My arms almost ripped off from their sockets. A few guys got hurt. More shoulder injuries. One dude had a bloody nose. And his arm was all messed up. But we had to find a way to get the toughness back. To find some punishment for the way we performed, or lack thereof last Saturday. The dude with the nose won’t be playing this weekend. He has to be at a wedding. Pain Pain Pain.
Tuesday’s practice. Still dazed from the day before. Another dude joins our practice. I guess he plays in the Maple League. He’s skinny but he can lay a good crack across your helmet when trying to block him. I get popped twice in a row trying to block this guy who is now at linebacker. My head goes clank. I had to take my helmet off. Shake of the hit. My neck muscles are now cursing me. Another tough practice. Got to take more ibuprofen before the tomorrow’s practice.
Wednesday’s practice. I call the coach and tell him I won’t be there. Still nursing the groin pull. Still aching everywhere. This 30 year old body needs rest. I don’t tell him that. I tell him that there was a surprise visit by my in-laws. I had to stay home and entertain. I lied. Coach Henri calls me up after practice. Let’s me know that I didn’t lose my starting spot. We only have 24 players for Saturday. I volunteer for defensive line play again. Although my body twitches when the words come out. I see myself gagging for more air. Muscles exerted, pain continuing. With 24 players on Saturday we better play well. The Sipoo Bulldogs are out for blood. I try to remember the tactics that the Maple League visiting player had when he cracked my skull.
Thursday morning. I can walk better now. My bones are opening champagne bottles. My neck is smiling The sun is finally out. Today’s practice will be helmets only. Some running. Some offensive plays. Some special teams. We gotta fill the gaps of empty spaces left by injuries, best men at weddings and people still on vacation. Those wussies. Gotta get it done. I feel better. A wonder what one day of rest will do. Time to get the game mindset turned onto full volume. Time to crank up the CD – Power & the Glory – Music of NFL Films on the stereo.
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