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The Press Box for August 14

By Staff | Aug 14, 2019

I was talking to some young men the other evening at McDonalds in New Martinsville. What a great group of guys! Young high school athletes just finishing up a hard practice and chowing down on Big Macs. Reminded me of years ago at the Fat Boy or Burger Chef. I could eat two to three Big Chef’s, they were 59 cents each. Two of those double decker’s, with an order of skinny fries and a coke was a real treat.

I watched these guys put it away while I was taking my last bite of a side salad with low fat dressing. Here I was over 50 years older than some of these guys, yet my heart, soul, and mind said I was still young. Oh, how I wanted one of those Big Macs. You know I was thinking food and that was all. I don’t know what was on those guys minds but watching them laugh when a couple girls came in made me think it wasn’t football or Big Macs.

Growing up on the West Side of Cleveland, my grandfather used to take me to Rennie’ a little five and dime type of place. If your old enough, you’ll remember those-kind-of-places were special and they made the best hamburgers. He’s the one who first got me to taste onions. After that it was pickles and then mayo. I never liked mustard and still don’t unless it’s Ball Park mustard, a Cleveland special. My favorite all-time was a hamburger from the charcoal grill in Paden City. A burger with ketchup, pickle, onions, mayo and mustard. There was just something special about that burger.

Now that I got that off my mind lets go back to sports. These young guys are gearing up for what promises to be a big year of fall sports here in the valley. We got into a serious conversation over training when I asked them what the most important part of getting in shape was! On his third burger one boy said being able to eat these, as he grinned with ketchup running down the side of his cheek.

I was trying to be serious, but these guys were tough to deal with. One boy said a good mental attitude is half the battle, you can train all you want, practice all you want and run through the plays all you want, but you still won’t come out with the win if you aren’t mentally prepared. I said who are you, Vince Lombardi, Jim Valvano or Billy Stewart?

Another boy said he wanted to be honest. He said the most important thing right now was to get into as good of shape as possible to avoid getting hurt. “I’ll be honest he said, we’re not very good and coach told us if we don’t work hard, we won’t win a game.”

Being a great coach isn’t just about managing personalities and laying out schemes, it’s also about being a master motivator. This coach might not win a game, but you have to love his style, he sure got his players attention.

One kid was a member of his schools cross country team. He said he loved to run and knowing it’s going to get competitive soon he’s doing all he can to be in great shape for the start of the season.

It doesn’t matter what sport you participate in, it’s important to be in the best physical shape you possibly can to avoid injuries.

Part of getting in shape includes the proper diet (not to many big macs), drinking plenty of water and getting enough rest. The hot weather can help you get in shape, but it can also cause problems if you over do it. Listen to your coaches, work hard during practice, be a good teammate, represent your school with pride, stay away from illegal substances and practice good sportsmanship. Enjoy what ever you do, it will come and go before you know it.

The first football game kicks off in just over two weeks. Paden City will be on the road against Frontier, Ohio, while the Silver Knights will travel on opening night to Ritchie County. There’s some good boys on both these teams and I believe they will both have decent seasons. Coach Walton will have the Knights in good shape mentally and physically and Wildcat Coach Zach Heasley will have his team ready. Get behind them and help make 2019 football a success. eparsons@tylerstarnews.com