Midnight practice makes you feel part of the team
By: Sports editor Myra Bean
My bedtime is usually around 10 p.m. If I am up later and not at a game, I am usually reading or playing Candy Crush. Very seldom am I out of the house. However, for one group of people, I stayed up most of the night.
North Panola held its Midnight Madness practice for the second straight year to kick off the fall football season.
With a roster of 59 players, there was 97 percent participation. Just four years ago, I remember that only eight players showed up for the first day of practice. Wow, how things have changed.
I regret that the fun that can be had at a midnight practice has not hit the fans yet. It is free. You can come set up, tailgate, whatever, but only about 25 extra people were on hand to watch the first practice, that includes school administrators, former players, a few siblings and maybe two parents.
Yes, everybody had to report to work a few hours after the conclusion of practice, but it was worth the sacrifice. The coaches had to report for school at 8 o’clock and so did I. The only ones who got to sleep a little later were the players.
They had a little sleepover, but probably woke up early to go home while the school year prepares to kickoff.
The main thing is the air was festive. The players were in good moods, egging each other on, especially if the 6’6” Willie Hibbler beat out the 5’5” Darius “Boo Man” Jackson on defense. It was good natured fun while learning the game and techniques of football.
Don’t worry. Hibbler also called out Robert “Munch” Oliver, daring Oliver to get between him and the ball.
After the practice, the coaches came over to see if Angie Ledbetter and I were sleeping on the sidelines. Angie is a night owl and she was in her element. I assured them I was still awake, however, new assistant coach Desmond Hendricks said he overheard us fussing about the late hours. Hmmm. Trying to start something, hey coach?
There is excitement in the air for the upcoming season and that is what is most important. I know many people do not like that time of night, but aside from some bugs, it was not hot (to us on the sidelines). It was not uncomfortable. I took my folding canvas chair and even had a little sit down time while I tweeted.
As for anything, it is what you make of it. We could sit there and think, “oh, I am sleepy and tired” or we could sit /stand/take pictures and be a part of the team. We chose to be a part of the team.