With colleges across the country canceling Fall sports, I was both thrilled and relieved to hear Vermont Governor Phil Scott announce “We want to make it clear, there will be Fall sports.” It is evident the Governor, the Agency of Education, and the Vermont Principals Association understand how vital extracurricular activities are in the lives of so many students and families. It is critical to their physical and mental health. Cancelling cannot be an option.
When Governor Scott followed with, “but things will look much different”, what I had imagined seemed to become a reality. We are not going to play “traditional” football. It appears the option will be 7v7 football which will be played without offensive and defensive linemen as well as traditional protective equipment (e.g. helmets, shoulder pads, etc.) As someone who has made a career out of coaching offensive line, it pains me to not coach the “Bigs”, to miss seeing them block for their running backs and protect their quarterback, to miss seeing five individuals form a brotherhood like no other, for the individuals to melt away, uniting to selflessly work as one. Football will not be the same, but then again what is the same these days?
I wish we could play “traditional” football. I wish our students could go back to school every day during the week. I wish they could gather in the cafeteria to socialize. I wish they could be closer than 6 feet apart. I wish they did not have to wear a mask or have their temperature taken. But things are different now.
Things will continue to be different. 7v7 football is a temporary solution to a devastating situation, but a very workable one nonetheless. I am thrilled to still be able to coach football. I am thrilled our kids and teams across the state will be able to participate and compete. I am thrilled they will have something to do after school to keep them fit and engaged. I am thrilled my staff and I have an opportunity to lead, teach, and develop student-athletes to maximize their potential on and off the football field. And, during these challenging financial times, I am relieved our coaches will still receive their stipends. Cancelling cannot be an option. Now it’s up to us to make the most of the opportunity we’ve been given.
For more on Vermont’s 7v7 program check out the coverage from WCAX, Burlington here: “High School Football This Fall; Is 7v7 The Answer?”
Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at firstname.lastname@example.org and share http://www.olineskills.com with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for supporting this blog and joining our conversations, and as always, thanks for your time!