From Field to Life: Football Tackles COVID-19, Teaches Lifelong Skills

The cool fall breeze is just starting up, as players roll out onto the field for practice. There’s shouting as players jog to their respective line, offense and defense, and special teams. It’s loud, the breathing of players harsh. Booming coach’s voices echoing off the stadium walls.

Football season is well underway

“I’m a fairly energetic non quiet person. So I think constant reminders of you know, the little details we have to do, you know, the same thing that everybody does to wear masks, wash your hands, you know, wipe down your phone on a regular basis. You know, don’t drink after people. Just, it’s not one big thing,” Head Football Coach and Atheltic’s Director Galen Zimmerman said.

Football has plays and patterns, and so does practicing COVID-19 prevention. 

“I think I think the importance of it or the fact that we remind them to make it a habit, you know, try to continue to do these things.” Zimmerman said, “And it becomes a habit, you know, habitual kind of a mentality, I think, hopefully, will rub off.”

Sports are often the place for kids to let off steam, let their worries rest during practice. But with the constant reminders of the pandemic, there is a worry about mental health. 

“I mean, you’re trying to worry about it as a kid. You’re trying to worry about, you know, all your classes.” Zimmerman said, “You try to worry about remembering, you know, the offense and defense you’re trying to worry about, you know, family stuff you got going on a girlfriend or whatever. And then on top of that, Coach telling you, reminding you all the time, wash your hands, use hand sanitizer, don’t do this, you know, wash your phone. I think that, yeah, there’s a lot of stuff. And so I think it can drain you a little bit mentally, for sure.”

However, despite the worry that the player may become mentally drained, Zimmerman praises his players for handling everything so well, turning their eyes towards their goal for the season, state championship.

“Oh, the biggest hope is the championship. I mean, that’s I think every year. Every year, we have the same goals, you know, number one is for every kid to pass all their classes. And that’s a lofty goal, especially in 2020,” Zimmerman said.

And some of those goals have changed in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Normally we talk about being able to play in December. Well, now we’re talking about you know, we need to one of our goals is to play on New Year’s Day,” Zimmerman said.

But it’s not just about the season, and when games get played, but about the program, football is building. 

“We’re building a great program. And that’s when I say we that is, you know, the coaches, the players, the managers, the trainers, you know, the support staff, the parents, not just a great team, not just this year, but a great program, where year after year, this is something that they can be proud of,” Zimmerman said.

But no matter the season or the scores to the games, or how the pandemic impacts it, the impact of the program will last a lifetime.

“We want to produce, you know, men of character and teach them habits, you know,

the values that hopefully will make them better than anything.” Zimmerman said, “You know, the same habits that make you a better football player, generally make you better in any arena, your job, and family. Successful people have the same habits no matter what their job is.”

By Cady Russell, Sports Editor and Online Editor-in-Chief

Featured photo by Teagan Krewson

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