I remember walking into the locker room at Saint Vincent’s College the day after a particular vicious two-a-day practice the day before. It was already suffocating humidity wise and it wasn’t even 9:00 am yet.
I knew from looking at the mountains surrounding Saint Vincent that it was to be a “Hold onto your keester day” because you couldn’t see the mountains due to the fog layering over the hills. When that happened, i didn’t need Joe DeNardo to tell me if was going to be a bad day at black rock.
I was sore from head to toe as if i’d run a gauntlet of the Pittsburgh Pirates taking batting practice with me as the ball. I ached down to my ear lobes. Yesterday’s two, two-and-a-half hour practices, followed by a punishing set of conditioning runs after the second practice of the day had taken their toll on my legs and i was presently engaged in trying to find them.
The hitting had been so fierce the day before that on this miserable morning-after, it was one of those times that when you shook your head, it felt like there was something loose rolling around in your gourd.
My neck ached from a wicked collision on a trap play during the internal run period, referred to by the vets as “Hamburger Helper” (all plays run during that period were run between the tackles) and i was presently finding it a challenge to hold my head up at the moment.
As i sat on the stool in front of my locker shaking out the remnants of a lousy night of sleep (Bonaventure Hall where we slept had no air conditioning), i looked with only a slight glimmer of hope to the chalk board located in the center of the room. On that chalk board written in chalk were the practice dress requirements for the day.
In big bold handwriting were the words “Pads.”
I slumped and chuckled inwardly like a man on death row recieving the news that his pardon had been rejected and the inevitable was about to commence. No chance for a reprieve by dressing out in sweats, no sir.
Full battle regalia, and another two sessions in humidity so thick a set of gills would have worked better than lungs, with full bore contact that spared only the bodies of players like Terry Bradshaw, Franco and the rest of those Chuck Noll deemed “Endangered Species.”
In other words, it was going to be a “Wash, rinse and repeat” of the day before complete with all the suffering 90-something temps and 90-something humidity bring.
I looked down at my feet (ahh, there were my legs!) in a total state of depression, and painfully lifted my head only when i heard somebody from across the room laughing at me. I looked up to see L.C. Greenwood chuckling away at my pathetic state of being.
“In all my years that word (pads) has never changed,” laughed L.C.
With the new CBA comes the news that the players negotiated two-a-day practices out of the coaching arsenal. Zippo, bupkus, nada. No two-a-days. Not to mention they are allowed only one pads practice a week during the season.
Sanity, where have you been all these years my friend?