My favorite time of year!

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Posted 8/20/15 (Thu)

One thing I truly love is high school football season. I'm not sure when I developed my obsession though. I know it wasn't in high school -- we were a terrible football team. There were several top quality athletes on our squad, but we just couldn't put it together. In fact our coaches name was Owen Stockdil and I've been told that one of the local pubs had a drink named to honor him. It was called and "Owen 8". It had everything in it except a win. (The punch line was apropo because at the end of the season our record was 0-8 -- get it, Owen 8!!!)
Anyways, near as I can tell it was the tenure of Bob Brown and Nate Nelson and their ability to always get the best out of each player that brought me to the Maroons sideline as a proud DC fan. We have had a lot of great football teams and individual players that have come out of this program, and every year when the senior athletes are recognized I look at the players we loose and the ones returning and say "wow, next year is going to be a long one." And I was usually right, but in a way different than I meant. You see, after Brown and Nelson got ahold of the boys the following year they almost always were able to bring us at least a couple steps into the playoffs -- so technically it was a "long year".
I remember several years back taking senior pictures of one of the players. I asked him if the kids do much partying during football season. 
His answer was classic and says volumes about what we have in our grid program. 
"No they don't (party). Ever since junior high I could hardly wait to play for Mr Brown and Mr Nelson and there was no way I was going to screw that up over a few beers!"
What a life lesson these coaches are installing in the players! Both Bob and Nate are quick to shift credit somewhere other than themselves when afforded compliments on their achievements as coaches, but for me they have a history that is still being written. Integrity matters, commitment matters, and respect is earned. I'm proud of the job these men have done with the DC football teams, and win or loose I will be on the sideline as much as possible cheering them on. I wish I could put in to words the interaction I am privy to as I prowl the sidelines with my camera. Mr Brown and Mr Nelson treat these kids with respect --always. Even when Mr Brown gets a little too worked up and draws a flag from the officials, he always comes back to the sideline recognizing his err (although most of the time he was right and the refs were the ones that should have been flagged). Face it, its and intense game!!
Bob and Nate have expectations for every player on the team, and it is ALWAYS about TEAM. 
Mr Brown had a classic response to a question I asked him for a pre season story a few years back.
ME -- "So Bob what is your favorite part of coaching"
BOB -- "The practices.  I love being with these kids and seeing them learn. Games are too intense!"
Tomorrow night the boys kick off their 2015 season. I probably won't be able to make that trek, but I am clearing my schedule for the rest of the fall. 
Thanks Mr Brown  and Mr Nelson for what you do for our school, our kids, our community and quite frankly for me!  Have a great season (win or loose!!!)

On a side note I was finishing the team pictures last week and Mr Browns son Brody (I hope thats his name, I forget) was with the players. He had a question for Nate. Here's what he said "Mr. Nelson are we going back out to practice now". 
I thought, "How impressive that this youngster had been taught to address coach Nelson by calling him MISTER Nelson!!! These guys live what they teach on the field!!