"The Freshman" & the "Old Alum" Talk Spring Practice!
My two favorite Columbia fans are back to discuss the ins and outs of the football offseason. Take it away boys...
The Freshman: Hey, I noticed all the football players heading out on buses this weekend at the crack of dawn when I'm just getting back from hanging out with my buddies at Tom's. What gives?
The Old Alum: It's called spring practice kid... but first let me congratulate you on finally getting into staying out late. Looks like you finally figured out that your suitemates in Carmen were pulling your leg when they told you about the 8PM curfew for freshmen. Too bad it's another three years before you can drink... legally.
The Freshman: Yeah, I love the nightlife baby. But seriously, why are the football players going to practice so early?
The Old Alum: Well, I hear the indignation in your voice baby. I was never much for anything before 3PM myself, but actually this is the only time these boys have to practice before class. You remember class don't you, or are you skipping those these days?
The Freshman: Well, let's just say I'm registered for 5 classes all in lecture halls with at least 50 students.
The Old Alum: 'nuff said kid.
The Freshman: Wait a minute... why all the fuss about practicing now? Aren't the football guys always practicing?
The Old Alum: Far from it, kid. The Ivy League sports authorities are stricter than traffic cops on the New Jersey Turnpike on Memorial Day Weekend, (I'll teach you how to avoid a breathalyzer sometime later), and they regulate practice time strictly. After the football season is over, the players only get this two-week period in April to practice and then it's another 4 months off until training camp in August. You see, it would be a shame if Ivy League athletes were spending too much time practicing and staying fit, while guys like you can skip class, smoke God knows what, and eat more Koronet pizza than I thought humanly possible whenever you want.
The Freshman: How can a college football team keep any kind of continuity with such a haphazard practice schedule?
The Old Alum: Welcome to the world of an Ivy League football coach. Believe me, it's a rougher job than being my AA sponsor. But seriously, these guys can't have real practices, but they can work out in the gym, and work on a few moves the coaches want them to perfect on their own.
The Freshman: Sounds like my 2-credit "independent study" project I'm taking this semester. I plan to bust out a term paper the night before the end of finals.
The Old Alum: Yeah, well that might work in your poetry class kid but the coaches can tell who's been working and who hasn't when summer training camp starts. The dedicated players just stand out. When I was a student taking summer classes, I remember Bob Kent '92, practicing his 3-point stance over and over on South Lawn in the extreme heat. I wasn't surprised when he put up some nice stats the following fall.
The Freshman: Wow, these guys really are dedicated. I wonder if the kids bashing the athletes in the student paper know how hard they work while taking the same classes as the rest of us?
The Old Alum: Trust me, they don't. And they don't want to know either. It's the kind of attitude that will serve them well in the pathetic future that faces them in the real world.
The Freshman: Let's get back to the team. Our QB Craig Hormann tore his ACL this winter. We're dead right?
The Old Alum: Hey, I once did a three-week gig at the Copa with chest pains and a kidney stone the size of Nebraska. Never underestimate the power of a determined athlete. Hormann is healing well and has a good shot at being ready in time for training camp. But if not, remember this Columbia team was all about defense last season. They did the heavy lifting before and they'll do it again if they have to. Besides, the running game is bound to improve and that will take a lot of pressure off Hormann or whoever's under center.
The Freshman: That reminds me, I hear we're bringing a ton of Division IA-caliber players in the fall's freshmen class. We're going all the way baby!
The Old Alum: Man, you blow hot and cold pretty quick kid. Sure we're excited about the recruiting class, but everyone sounds pretty great coming out of high school. Even you got a few pokes on your Facebook page, remember? We'll find out in training camp which freshmen are worth getting really excited about. The good news is: the newcomers know they'll get every chance with this coaching staff. They didn't hesitate putting in freshmen last season and it sure paid off.
The Freshman: I can't believe there are still more than 5 months to go until the season starts. I might even have a girlfriend by then.
The Old Alum: Stranger things have happened.