Thursday, August 03, 2006


Double sessions for high school football teams start today. Two-a-days are one of those rights of passage that you can't understand unless you've experienced, and that you never forget if you have.

For the uninitiated, "double sessions" or "two-a-days" are the twice daily football practices that traditionally are run six days a week from the first day of high school practice until the first day of school. They are a truly miserable way to spend two weeks. In fact, for years after my days as a high school player ended, I'd get a knot in my stomach around this time of year--sort of a post-traumatic stress reaction to my annual trip to Hell.

We'd start out the first day of double sessions by being given our helmets and then being told to put them on and go run "five perimeters" (i.e., five laps around the entire campus of our high school, a distance of approximately 4 1/2 miles). Only then would we start the day's first practice. My experience is by no means unique--every former player has a story of a particularly cruel tradition associated with his own team's two-a-days.

I only went through one football preseason in college, and it was even worse than high school. We didn't have two practices a day; we had three--and that was at a low end Division III program! Both of my brothers did time in D-IAA programs, and their preseason practices were even worse. The situation at colleges got so insane that the NCAA actually intervened a few years ago and imposed strict limits on double sessions.

My own college playing career ended before it started. I aggravated a knee injury shortly after contact started and was told that I should have surgery if I wanted to play again. Whenever I felt bad about that, I reminded myself that the injury also ended my experience with two-a-days. It's amazing how much that thought cheered me up.

Now it's my oldest son's turn. He gets his first taste of two-a-days starting today. Better you than me son, better you than me.

1 comment:

thatchick said...

I know it was/is hard for the guys. But seriously, one hasn't lived until as an S.A.T. you've gotta drag some dude 4 times your size off the field, and he smells worse than sour milk, and is heaving all over you. Good times, baby.