There’s just no pleasing some people. Me, for instance.
I’m not a big fan of training camp football. The big issue for me is the weather.
With temperatures ranging from the 40s to the 70s the last few weeks, you’d think I would love this. Not so much.
Actually, it’s not game night that bothers me that much. Once the ball is kicked off, I concentrate on the action and don’t think a lot about the temperatures.
Practice is another matter. It’s boring to watch, thus, I think about the cold.
Tuesday, I was dressed for the 70-degree weather at 2 p.m. When I arrived at Wilson Central around 5, it was dark and the temperature was in the low 60s. It felt much colder.
Thursday, I was more prepared when I went to Nokes-Lasater Field to interview Cumberland coach Donnie Suber. I had on a long-sleeved shirt and a jacket. Didn’t seem to matter. According to my phone, the temp was about 10 degrees cooler than 48 hours before. Seemed like the difference was more than that.
Waiting for Suber to finish his post-practice talk to the team, I noticed running backs coach Bobby Brown was wearing shorts. He admitted he should have worn long pants.
Nearly 25 years ago, I stood on the same field watching the Lebanon Blue Devils prepare for a playoff game at Rhea County. Coach Mark Medley, one of the most superstitious persons I’ve ever known, was wearing shorts as he had done since August.
Trouble was, the sky was spitting snow. It wasn’t sticking to the ground, but if you just watched the air, it looked like a blizzard.
Back in 2001, I covered a Lebanon game at Smyrna which began comfortably enough in the 70s as I recall. But a squall line charged through which caused a pair of delays totaling some two hours. The temperature dropped and I retreated upstairs to the press box.
By the time the teams returned to warm up to resume the game, I noticed assistant coach Shavez Jobe walking around in shorts. I asked nobody in particular if he thought Shavez was feeling cold down there.
After the game, a Lebanon loss, head coach Ron [Moose] Marshall was notably miserable. He was undergoing treatment for cancer that fall which caused him to miss some practices, but not games. It made him weaker than normal and the sudden plunge in temperature was about all he could handle. He was much more interested in seeking warm shelter than talking about the Blue Devils’ loss.
For that matter, so was I.
Which brings me back to Donnie Suber. After wrapping up my interview, I said it was a good night for football.
He quickly interjected, “No, it isn’t.”
Obviously, the Georgia native, who played for Georgia Southern in the Hurricane Hugo game against MTSU [an artist’s rendering of that contest hangs on his office wall] in 1989, had no interest in being involved in an Ice Bowl-type of contest.
After his answer, I told him I wasn’t finished.
Actually, it was a great night to watch a game – on a sofa in front of a big-screen TV – indoors.