Full disclosure: I am not a morning person. Never have been, never will be.
I was even less of a morning person when I was a teenager, and particularly when school wasn’t in session. The only reason I ever woke up before noon was to watch Bob Barker host The Price is Right.
With that in mind, I couldn’t help but to be impressed when I went out to Grantsville’s football practice Wednesday morning. I got to Cowboy Stadium at 9 a.m. — certainly plenty early enough by my standards. But the boys and girls in the red jerseys, helmets and shoulder pads had already been out there for two hours by that point. The band and cheerleaders were out there practicing as well.
All were hard at work in pursuit of being more than just good enough.
High school sports and activities are mostly about fun and games. That will be true as long as the Friday night lights come on across the country each fall. But success takes desire. So does waking up at the crack of dawn for the first of two daily practices in the waning days of your summer vacation.
I’m not sure I ever could have done it. There were multiple reasons why I was a manager for my high school football team instead of playing on it. Being 5-foot-7 and 130 pounds with a 40-yard dash time that could be measured in centuries instead of seconds was certainly a contributing factor. Having hands of cement and fingers of butter didn’t help, either.
Above all, though, I couldn’t dedicate myself to two-a-day practices during the hottest part of the summer. After practice, my football-playing friends would come into the fast-food joint where I worked, reloading themselves after three hours of hard work under the blazing mid-summer Moab sun, while the extent of my work was making sure the fries were fresh.
I always admired their willingness to work that hard and sacrifice their summer. If I’d had that kind of desire, they probably could have used another body on a roster that only had 37 players. If nothing else, I could have been on the scout team — a sacrificial lamb as a fourth-string running back running a toss play against our Division I-bound starting defensive end.
Instead, all I could do is make sure the shake machine was working right.
Darren Vaughan is a veteran sports writer from Moab, Utah. Even today, getting up in time to watch The Price is Right is a struggle. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.