The end of
July is the hottest time of the year in North Carolina. And that means
it's time to start playing some football. The Panthers head to training
camp July 27th for two-a-days, high school practices officially start
July 31st, and the Pirates report to ECU for preseason practice August
4th. Can you smell the sweat yet?
Hopefully, players have been exercising outside to get acclimated to
the hot, humid temperatures. If a player sat in the air conditioning
all summer long, chances are he is going to have some problems. If
football players are not mentally tough, they will either get that way
over the next month, or they won't be able to cut it. The heat of
summer is when champions are born.
East Carolina's players have been going hard in the weight room under
strength and conditioning coach Mike Golden. The Pirates' strength and
speed numbers improved dramatically, which can only help on the field
this year. Conference USA coaches have picked ECU to finish last in the
East, something that should be used as bulletin board material (not
that Pirate players should need much motivation after eight wins in the
last three years, but it should be reminder of how far they have to go).
This is a great time of year, hope springs eternal for all players and
teams. The possibilities are endless for the upcoming season, from the
high schoolers to the pros, and expectations are high for everyone
from the Panthers to several local prep teams.
I am headed back to the family farm in upstate New York for my own
training camp. Pretty soon the weekends will be filled with the pigskin
from Friday nights through Sunday (actually football has become almost
a seven-day-a-week game), and we sportscasters have to be in shape and
mentally tough for the long season as well. So are you ready for some
football? The die-hard fans say yes, it's time to turn up the heat.