Football season is almost here

Published 4:44 pm Monday, August 15, 2022

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Friday night will start the 2022 high school football season and the college season is right around the corner.  The humidity and high temperatures this month can be a factor in the winning and losing depending on whether teams practiced in the heat.

Sports medicine has come so far and the equipment companies have made clothing acceptable to the heat.  Water breaks are encouraged and even cold baths after a practice are good for the legs, especially on hot days. Shorts are worn instead of practice pants and the practice jerseys players wear are breathable to prevent dehydration.  All this is good for the athletes of today.

Terry Smithwick and I were talking the other night about Coach Wagner not allowing water breaks until after practice.  We got all the water after practice including a salt tablet but never during practice.  (It was not till Ike Arnold at UNC in 1970, that the nation realized that water was so important during a practice.) We both agreed that Coach made us wear those long cotton practice jerseys, white practice pants and wrap around girdles to protect our hips.  The jerseys were naturally blue in color and not white.

Terry made it sound like yesterday but it had to be 55 years ago.  He remembers William Neal Martin and Charlie Alligood on the varsity would carry a sponge soaked in water in their helmets to squeeze the water out when they got thirsty.  We did not try this because we were lowly freshmen and did not want to get caught by Coach Chapin nor Coach Houston, our JV coaches.

The water fountain was right behind the first base dugout and Cambo Rodman and Fred Watkins would sneak over and get a drink.  They were lineman and there were plenty of offensive lineman so it was easy to sneak over and never get missed.  It was not till after practice that we went to Mrs. Carver’s and got the best coke and ice imaginable, along with a chili dog, just like the varsity players.

Good luck to the high school teams that start up this week and have plenty of water available for your team and the college teams that will start on Sept. 2nd.  Be careful and have the most productive season in 2022! Will be watching from a distance!

They were the best of times with the best of friends and in the best of places, Washington, N. C.!  The Original Washington!

Harold Jr.