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Today is December 6, 2022

Grin 'n' Bare It

Let’s go to football camp

Kay Grafe
Kay Grafe

After having football season tickets for the Mississippi State games for over 40 years, I still don’t understand football. Meaning: I couldn’t explain how to play the game or all the rules if someone asked me.
     After all those years of sitting in the stadium with the Bulldawgs winning or losing games, that means (a) I’m intellectually challenged, (b) I can block the game from my mind or (c) I’m reading a book.
     I suspect it’s all all three, but I choose (c) as the correct answer. You would think this habit of mine would drive my football enthusiast that sits next to me crazy. But he’s still sane. I think he’s just happy that I’m at every game and haven’t given my tickets away.
     As I was reading “Gene’s Page” online earlier in the summer—he gives the scoop on MSU sports—I noticed that Misssissippi State had a football camp listed for ladies. The camp was for one day, on July 21. The write-up looked cool, since it offered ladies of all ages a method to learn about the game, other than playing it.
     So off I went.      
     There were about 150 ladies at the Palmeiro Complex at MSU. This modern building is a very attractive large multipurpose facility. It has a humongous room in front suited for meetings, banquets or lectures. The back portion has an indoor football/baseball practice facility. We met with all the coaches, including Dan Mullen, who stayed with us all day. Wives and single ladies attended two lectures on how to play the game of football, given by Coach Knox and Coach Smith. The talks were more like fun conversations than lectures.
     Several first-string players gave us a fashion show dressed out in their new uniforms. One defensive and one offensive player demonstrated how hard it was to get out of their uniform and pads.
     Balis, the strength and conditioning coach, told us about his workout sessions; Stan Murray gave an officiating overview. A referee’s job is tougher than I imagined. Many door prizes were given away.
     The best part was after lunch. The ladies that chose to go through a football player’s practice day went to the indoor field in the back of the Palmeiro building and warmed up with Coach Balis. That was tough; he gave us no slack. Those who chose not to exercise watched from the sidelines.
     Next on our schedule was working out or training like the players. We were divided into seven groups with a coach over each group and went through training sessions. Here we had to throw, catch, block, learn how to carry and run with the ball, tackle, pass rush, and the turnover. Oh, my! I appreciate the players more now.
     Afterwards, we were taken in the player’s big busses to tour the Templeton Building: weight room, locker room, training room.
    Another bus ride to the stadium. Coach Mullen took us through game day. We had the Lord’s Prayer holding hands at the entrance of the field, then jumped up and down and ran through the smoke coming out the door and onto the field. Two lines of people (cheerleaders, pep squad and band) make up the lines that the players run through on game day. We ran through two lines of cheering ladies and coaches.
     After a footrace in our age group, and push-up competition, prizes were given. It felt strange standing on the field. The Jumbotron sprang to life and highlighted the video that will be shown on the first game day.
    The finale was great. Coach Mullen thanked us for coming and gave a pep talk. Now, let the games begin.
     At 5:00 I had to drag myself back to our motorhome. Every muscle in my body was screaming, HELP. But I was glad I didn’t take the easy way out and sit on the sidelines.
     Any she-Bulldawgs out there who would like to attend next year for a fabulous day, write me for details or go to the Mississippi State University’s website.

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