Sunday, August 17, 2008

A new season begins...

Last May, after a successful seven year "career," Nathan announced his "retirement" from club soccer. Soon after, he began training for a new sport with the same name. Only now, his football has pointy ends and laces in the middle.

In late July, Nathan was drafted by the Dublin Cowboys. Since he has never actually played the game before, [other than flag football or recess ball], we weren't sure what to expect in his first year of this new sport. However, with his duties as waterboy for the nationally ranked Dublin Coffman H.S. Shamrocks, he has really become excited about football.

Nathan is lucky to be playing for some fantastic new coaches who have really instilled a love of the game in him. His coaches are former collegiate linebackers from Miami (Ohio) University. Using this connection, Nathan and his teammates were invited to attend an alumni Back to Camp day, which included a picnic and scrimmage with the current Miami Redhawks team. I went along for the ride...and had a great time!

The team departed Dublin at 7:30am on Saturday morning. Taking the team bus, the kids arrived in Oxford, Ohio around 9:45am.
Immediately upon arrival, the team geared up and headed for the practice field, which was located next to Yager Stadium, home of the Miami University Redhawks. The Cowboys went through their typical drills, designed to develop quick feet and proper technique. Nathan [wearing the blue practice jersey] worked very hard, but hit a cone. In the photo, check out the intensity of Coach Prochko... this guy is awesome.
This is a textbook three-point stance. Nathan's good form was recognized by Coach Hyzdu. Needless to say, Dad was very proud.

Some of the Miami football players came over to watch the kids practice. By this time, the fundamental drills were over, and the Cowboys offense was scrimmaging the defense, where Nathan played linebacker.

After the scrimmage, some of the Redhawk players spoke to the team. I can't begin to express how impressed I was with some of the young people we met at Miami. They each told the team how they continue to play just for the love of the game, and how they have learned that great effort results in great accomplishments. The Miami players were asked which skills are most important in football. In unison, they replied, "quick feet." The coaches beamed at hearing this. Nathan and his teammates were in awe...and the day kept getting better.
Next on the agenda was an opportunity to meet the entire Redhawks team for autographs and photos. Nathan posed for a photo with Clayton Mullins [#9], who is the reigning Mid-American Conference player of the year. He is also a solid candidate for the Butkus Award, which is given to the nation's best linebacker. Miami University head coach, Shane Montgomery, spoke with the team....surprisingly, not about football. Instead, he talked about the importance of "doing well in school." He also touched on the topic of giving great effort, just as his players had earlier in the day.
After a picnic with the Redhawk seniors, the kids went into the stadium to watch the Miami Redhawks fall intra-squad scrimmage. Nathan was sporting the Dublin "gangsta" look.
The team was given a tour of the locker rooms, players lounge, and meeting rooms under the stadium. They also were able to go out onto the field, and up into the press box. Nathan took the camera from me and took some photos for himself. These last two are his...maybe he has yet another talent?
Not much can bond a father and son like football. Therefore, you can be sure that Nathan and I will be glued to the TV (ESPN) on Aug. 28th (Vanderbilt) and Sept. 6th (Michigan), as the Miami Redhawks will become the team that every true Buckeye fan LOVES to root for...that is, the team which is playing against either an SEC team or the Michigan Wolverines.


Michelle said...

Great post, Ken. I loved hearing about Nathan's weekend and it gets me excited for my own boys to eventually play. The "team bus" is awesome and I love Nathan's "gansta" look. Tha't MY cuz!!!!!

Diane said...

This was terrific, Ken. I miss you guys so much. I have wonderful nephews. I'm so glad they have you and Michele for parents. They are blessed.
and...I'm glad you are my brother.