“YEAR OF THE LIONS” Chapter 5
“When Did Double Sessions Turn into Single Sessions?”
In the spring of my junior year at Galileo back when dinosaurs roam the streets of San Francisco, a friend of mine helped me get my first job, scooping ice cream on Union Street. There are many fond and stressful memories but two good ones always come to mind; my co-workers introducing me to this thing called “Modern Rock” and the many nights of bringing ice cream home to share with my brother as we sat in front of our computer, playing an RPG called “Pool of Radiance” on our desktop that had a VGA monitor. In computer-challenged language it simply means; Role Playing Game called “Pool of Radiance” on our computer at home connected to a monitor that only had 16 colors. Characters had square heads, weapons that looked like they are made with Legos, and when
something happened, we had to read about it. That spring and summer went just like that. Then August approached and I gave my 2-weeks notice, which went like this; “John, I can’t work any more because it’s football season”. There were no second thoughts. It was after all, football season. And the start of football season means “double sessions” which is also known as “2-A-Day” or “Hell Week” not “Every-Other-Day Sessions”, “2-Today-Not-Tomorrow”, or “Fluffy Cotton Candy Week”.
That was then, this is now: this is the Year of the Lions and the first week ended with many questions and uncertainties. The percentage of players who attended 100% of the double-session days is close to 25%-that’s about 10 out of 40 players at both levels. The percentage of players who came on time dropped even more. The excuses are often legit but too numerous. I am a true believer of this phrase, “the season will be determined by what we do during double sessions“. I’ve shared with the team that the first week dictates our season. And unless something drastic changes in week 2, the story will be written like this when November comes; Galileo finishes preseason with a 2-2 mark, drops first 2 games of league, rallies to finish 2-4 to narrowly miss a chance for playoffs. The details between the lines will involve a few players lost and a few are gained because of grades, a few will quit because they are not satisfied citing things like trying to get a better GPA or parent’s abrupt decision, some will fight on but can’t see the point in it, and many will look back thinking “what if” thoughts. Is this a fair assessment so early on in the season? You be the judge after you read the next paragraph.
Breaking down the first week of varsity practice: Total sessions = 16 (8 days of doubles), Amount of Key players/Starters who missed practice = 9, Amount of Players who missed more than 4 sessions (2 days) = 6, Amount of players who were never late and never absent = 4, and total number of players = 40 – 15 FS = 25 V.
That is now and this was then: it was the summer of 1989; we had just gone undefeated for the first time in school history a season ago. I turned in my ice cream scooping badge. It was August and I knew it was football season. I knew that when I took the #47 bus down Van Ness to Galileo on the first day of practice, I would see my teammates and coaches there. With my sandwich wrapped up in tinfoil ready to be eaten in-between the 2 sessions, I stepped into the school and there they were, players and coaches ready to go because it was after all…The Year of the Lions.
Every year is the Year of the Lions.
(If you’re looking for the other chapters of this blog title, they might not be posted yet.)