Sunday, August 13, 2017

Full Pads & Helmets

By Uncle Hans

I am done with the first week of football camp and that's halfway. This is my locker. We went to full pads and helmet on Thursday. There are only 27 players so everyone has to learn both the offense and the defense. For a rookie football illiterate like myself it is overwhelming. The guys are very patient and quick to help me out.

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I am still the worst player in virtually every category. Kind of discouraging. I am very handicapped by being unable to catch the ball. I have very small hands and a surgeon's instinct to keep my hands out of danger. On Wednesday I dropped three in a row so when the 4th came in I made a serious effort to catch it with my body. It turned out to be a Bullet Pass, but I did catch it. This was my arm Wednesday evening.

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Here it is on Friday morning. It looks worse than it feels. Today it's already fading. I am slowly improving. My anterior thighs are the only real sore spot and this morning they felt pretty good.

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I am on the taxi Squad which means when the starting offense is at work I stand in the different defense positions to allow them to learn their assignments. When the starting defense is working I stand in the different offense positions for the same reason. Having so few players is a blessing for me because I am actually useful to the coaches and the team.

These are my work clothes. Renee said I look serious. Black for us is the color of Defense and I have been leaning towards outside linebacker.

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The defense uses a lot of single safety formations and my attempt at cornerback only proved that I was too slow for that work. Without a safety behind me I can't keep up with a wide receiver. In the jargon of the game, outside linebacker is called a dawg.

     The group is together for the better part of 14 hours a day starting with breakfast at 7:15 a.m. and often ending with a snack and devotional after 9 p.m. There are lectures, some inspirational talks, and two, two hour practices on the field. The guys are very supportive, I participate in every drill, they don't laugh when I do poorly, and they congratulate me when I occasionally do something right.

     My goal when I came here for practice was:

I want to be ON the field but not IN the way

Because of the shortage of players and the fact that they actually need me, and the fact that they all gently teach me, I am achieving that goal.

I love it, but the actual hitting has just started today and that's my last remaining hurdle.

Uncle Hans

Editors note link

Feel free to share the “FootballAT65” story with your friends.

Friday, August 11, 2017

BUS STOP

WE RETURNED TO PRESCOTT, AZ AFTER OUR FIRST VISIT LAST SPRING.

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WE BOUGHT TICKETS TO THE OLD BROADWAY PLAY “BUS STOP” ON THE INTERNET. WE STAYED ON THE SQUARE DOWNTOWN AT HOTEL ST. MICHEAL WHICH IS ON THE END OF WHISKEY ROW.

THE PLAY IS WAY OFF BROADWAY THESE DAYS, IN FACT THE THEATER WAS IN AN ALLY IN PRESCOTT.

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THE AUDIENCE WAS SMALL, ONLY ABOUT 40 SEATS AND YOU FELT LIKE YOU WERE RIGHT ON STAGE IN THE PLAY.

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WE BOTH ENJOYED THE PLAY AND THE ROADTRIP FROM SHOW LOW TO PRESCOTT, IT COVERS SOME BEAUTIFUL TERRITORY IN ARIZONA, INCLUDING PINE, AND THE VERDE VALLEY. OF COURSE IT DIDN’T HURT THAT PRESCOTT HAS A TRADER JOES.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

First Practice

By Uncle Hans

I have been thinking for 35 years about what I would feel like when I walked off the practice field for the first time. Today it happened and what a feeling!

     The day started with meetings and lectures but rather quickly moved to the weight room. I could squat and bench press 195# two or three times, which is far below the average. One safety man one wide receiver and the punter were at about the level I am.

      We proceeded outside for about 2 hours. We ran a bunch of agility and speed drills, some of which were timed. I did okay, finishing ahead of several linemen. The end of the session was something the coach calls the 700 Club. It's 14 25 yard dashs with 180 degree direction change between each one. 2 minutes of rest. And do the whole thing again. Against the clock. I got a minute and 51 seconds for the first half. That time put me ahead of a couple lineman again.

     Then we broke for lunch......

........ the afternoon was more teaching, particularly offensive formations and their names. I will be playing defense and don't have a clue about football so they were lecturing in Greek. Then we went back outside for another 2 hours but it was much easier. They worked on offensive formations and ran some plays. They stuck me in the middle linebacker position. There was no hitting or minimal hitting. This drill operates without a defensive secondary. The team is very small only 26 of us. Therefore many players will be playing both offense and defense. We then switch to running these plays without a defense so those players could switch in. At this point I found myself just watching.

     At dinner last night I found myself sitting next to the punter. After telling him about working with Jake when he was a punter in high school, he invited me to come and work with him. Rather than stand around and watch at this point, I went over and basically shagged balls and kicked them back to him.  Like I did many years ago with Jake in the front yard on Spooner Lake.

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...... basically the day went a little better then I had hoped. I heard guys complaining at dinner about sore muscles and joints. Right now I feel about the same as after a really high level night of volleyball in Cumberland. I'm generally sore all over but have no hot spots. Let's see if I can get out of bed in the morning. This afternoon was with helmets. Full gear comes probably next week.

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     I am off and running. Stay tuned......

Uncle Hans

Editor’s note link

Feel free to share the “Football@65” story with your friends.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Housing

By Uncle Hans

Just pulled in to football camp. On the way my phone rang with an offer for a movie to be made out of the book. How exciting!

     The movie people don't like the title.  "How to Play College Football at 65" is boring. They want to call it:

          COUSIN EDDIE GOES TO COLLEGE

( you know I'm just kidding.........)

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Got Camp all set up.....

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Never actually set up before in an RV park. I hope I got the right things hooked up to the right things?

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Snug as a bug in a rug.......

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......... but can I make it 90 days?

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I gotta make it or there's no book.

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This last detail is pure MacGyver. Black hose is stretchy like a slinky and kept pulling out of the hole. So I took a tie down to it. It's the kind of thing a college kid would come up with.

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Well, I have to go to registration. Full practices start tomorrow. More later.......

Uncle Hans

Editor’s note link

Feel free to share the “Football At 65” story with your friends.

Monday, August 7, 2017

THE BOOK, BY UNCLE HANS

JUST TO REVIEW, “UNCLE HANS” IS REALLY MY BROTHER, JUST THREE YEARS YOUNGER. WE REFER TO HIM AS “UNCLE” AS A TERM OF RESPECT. SURE WE COULD CALL HIM “DOCTOR HANS” , BUT REALLY USING THE TERM “UNCLE” IS AN OLD FAMILY TRADITION FROM THE DEVIL’S LAKE CAMPING DAYS OF OUR YOUTH.

IN 1982, YES 35 YEARS AGO, UNCLE HANS HAD AN IDEA FOR A BOOK. THE TITLE OF THIS BOOK IS:

HOW TO PLAY FOOTBALL AT 65

WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?

WHERE IS THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH?

WHY DO BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE?

WHO HAS BEEN QUIETLY ENJOYING THE SIMPLE SOLUTION TO AMERICA’S HEALTHCAR MESS FOR OVER 50 YEARS?

UNCLE HANS BEGAN THE WRITING OF THIS BOOK MANY YEARS AGO, AND THE BOOK IS SETUP SO THAT EVERY OTHER CHAPTER IS ABOUT PLAYING COLLEGE FOOTBALL.  THE ODD CHAPTERS ARE ABOUT THE  FOOTBALL EXPERIENCE AND THE EVEN CHAPTERS ARE A SELF-HELP, LIFESTYLE PHILOSOPHY THAT MIGHT KEEP YOU HEALTHY ENOUGH TO DO YOUR BUCKET LIST AFTER YOU RETIRE, EVEN IF THAT IS TO PLAY COLLEGE FOOTBALL. THE BOOK HAS BEEN HALF DONE FOR MANY YEARS, AND NOW COMES THE WRITING OF THE FOOTBALL CHAPTERS.

UNCLE HANS PLANS ON KEEPING HIS INTERCIRCLE OF LOYAL SUPPORTERS, THE PEOPLE HE SHARED THIS WITH THAT DIDN’T LAUGH OUT LOUD TO HIS FACE, WITH A SERIES OF E-MAIL REPORTS AS HE REPORTS TO FOOTBALL CAMP BEGINNING ON AUGUST 7TH. HE HAS GIVEN ME PERMISSION TO POST THESE REPORTS ON THE HAPPY CAMPERS BLOG.

IT’S OK TO LAUGH, MANY HAVE, BUT ON THE OTHER HAND IT WILL BE EXCELLENT READING AS A 65 YEAR OLD DOCTOR RETURNS TO THE COLLEGE LIFE AND GOES OUT FOR FOOTBALL. I KNOW YOU ALL SHARE OUR CONCERNS FOR HIS NOT GETTING HURT, AND WANT TO KNOW:

HOW TO PLAY FOOTBALL AT 65

WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?

WHERE IS THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH?

WHY DO BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE?

WHO HAS BEEN QUIETLY ENJOYING THE SIMPLE SOLUTION TO AMERICA’S HEALTHCAR MESS FOR OVER 50 YEARS?

THE FIRST REPORT ON HOUSING WILL APPREAR TOMORROW, SO TUNE IN.

First actual practice   August 8th

First game      August 26

Last game   November 4th

Book goes live on Kindle   Approx. November 15th