I stopped by the Brickyard Friday morning of last week to get a glimpse of the 2005 Thomson High School football team dressed in black and gold. It was picture-taking time for the newest edition of the Bulldogs.
As I walked across the field toward the team assembled under the armory end goalpost, I couldn't help but notice the dew that covered the lush, green grass as it glistened in the sunlight. If not for the cloudless sky, one would have thought it had been recently pouring rain.
The 2005 Thomson Bulldogs pose for a photo Friday at The Brickyard.
Upon returning to my truck, I noticed my shoes covered in long green strands of the wet stuff. I didn't bother trying to remove the grass, as I knew it would be useless until it dried. I also wanted to briefly enjoy the moment.
This will be football season 13 away from coaching for me. That means that since finishing college, I have now been out of coaching for as long as I was in it. I get asked still quite often if I miss coaching and my usual answer is, "some parts of it I miss, some I don't."
I can now add a part to the list of things that I miss. The sopping wet grass of an early summer morning just before a team is ready to practice is one of the little things that I might used to call an annoyance. After Friday morning, I can now call it a sentimental reminder of days gone by.
It made me vividly recall the days at one of my previous schools of our team camping for a week at Georgia Southern University. When we would go out for our first practice just after daybreak, Coach Erk Russell or one of his assistants would already be on the Eagles' fields busy at work.
They had an old pickup truck that drug a big flat board behind it. They drove the truck up and down the fields knocking the dew off the top to speed up the drying process. By the time they started a mid-morning practice, their fields would be dry. I then longed for the same luxury.
Our team would begin practice with stretching and would be soaking wet within seconds. The dew-covered grass was as big a contributor as the humidity of an early south Georgia morning. By the time we were going full speed into our drills, the kids' uniforms would be 20 lbs. heavier with dew and perspiration. As coaches, our legs would be covered to the knees with wet grass and our shoes and socks drenched.
If I were a better writer, I might could take a little insignificant thing like wet grass, throw in countless adjectives, a French word or two even, rhyme them up, and make it sound more significant than it really is. But to a guy, who is not much of a romantic and sees things in mostly black and white, last Friday morning I realized that a grass field covered in dew is pretty doggone significant.
At one time it was a simple nuisance that I took for granted, giving it nary a second thought. But today, as time and circumstances have changed, those blades of grass have a whole new meaning. The only adjectives I can conjure up are ones that might express my ignorance about the simple things that I once should have been enjoying instead of begging to do without.
Little did I know 13 years ago, that wet grass would find its way onto a list that I use for an answer to a question that I hear unbelievably often 13 years later. It also makes the second part of my answer, the things about coaching that I don't miss, a whole lot shorter.