Friday, August 1, 2014

All I Really Need to Know I Learned at NFL Training Camp

A week or so ago, The Hubs received an invitation (and a + 1 – woo-hoo!) from Jim Caldwell, the new head coach of the Detroit Lions, to be his guest at a training camp session this year. And being the smart man he is, The Hubs took me, the old ball and chain.

Since we attended sans kids – training camp is hard enough for the players without having to hear a toddler whining and a baby crying from the sidelines, Scott and I technically deemed our afternoon getaway a date night of sorts...only earlier. And with whistles and tacking dummies.

Sure training camp was old hat for Scott: He had been there, done that for nearly seven seasons. But I had never attended a training camp session where I was a stone's throw away from the players, so I was there to glean whatever knowledge I could. 

And what did I learn?

That everything we should do in the real world is null and void on the football field...

1. Share everything
Share nothing. Especially your helmet, cleats, mouth guard, and, of course, your jock strap. 

2. Don't hit people.
It's okay to hit people. Particularly members of the opposing team. If you encounter one of them, then, by all means, knock their block off.

3. Don't take things that aren't yours.
Do take things that aren't yours. On the field, it's every man for himself.

4. Take a nap every afternoon.
You can't take a nap every afternoon. In football, if you snooze, you lose. 

5. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
No they're not. Only bananas and Gatorade are. (They keep you hydrated and help to prevent cramps.)

6. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together. 
When you go onto the field, look for the traffic and get in the thick of things. And don't expect anyone to hold your hand. This is the gridiron. Not Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

7. Play nice.
No. Nice and rough is the only way to play. 

8. It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game.
It's not about how you play the game. It's all about winning.

9. Wash your hands before you eat.
Don't worry about washing your hands. In fact, get them dirty. It's the name of the game.

10. It's okay to cry sometimes.
There's no crying in football.

And that's that. 

As guests of Coach Caldwell's Scott and I were fortunate to actually be on the field with the players. We were literally right there. (To tell you the truth, I am thanking my lucky stars that I wasn't hit by a flying ball.) I took nearly 100 photos, so I have yet to go through them all, but here are a few highlights:

The entrance of the Detroit Lions' practice facility.
Scott with Lions Head Coach Jim Caldwell, an incredibly gracious host, who actually walked over to where we were standing to greet us when his players took a break from a drill.  

Quarterback Matthew Stafford in action. (The quarterbacks always wear red in practice. Red signifies stop because hitting the quarterback is ALWAYS off limits.)

Defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh waiting his turn for a drill.

In the thick of things with the big boys, the offensive linemen, which was the position Scott used to play. The offensive linemen often go unnoticed despite being a major component of the game: They protect the ball carriers.
Scott and I about to head home after spending nearly two hours on the field.

Running back Reggie Bush being bombarded by a crush of sports reporters at the end of practice.

Thank you, Coach Caldwell, for an awesome afternoon!


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22 comments:

  1. Oh this is hilarious, Courtney and a great way to start my day! I think every date night should have whistles and tackling dummies!!

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    1. LOL Thank you, Susie! I was hoping you might be able to get a chuckle out of this, too, considering Steve's background. (Let me know what he thinks, too!)

      And a "great way to start your day"? Um, you DO know I am beyond flattered...right?

      Have a great weekend!

      xo

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    2. He says you are spot on with all your references!

      Everyone should start their day with a giggle and a smile!

      Have a beautiful weekend, my friend!

      xxo

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  2. Great post Courtney! You're getting me fired up for football! You and the fam bam enjoy your weekend!

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    1. That's the spirit, Louida! That's exactly what I like to hear...

      I was corresponding with an editor at one of our local newspapers a day or so ago, and she said to me that it didn't feel like football season. My reply? Ask true fans of the game: The season is here.

      And I couldn't be happier. :-)

      Thank you for commenting!


      xo

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  3. Sounds like a great weekend. Training camp is always fun! I think most of those lessons are necessary for life too, especially 1 and 5.

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    1. You're totally correct, April: I absolutely ABHOR sharing my mouth guard! lol

      No, but seriously, I agree with you...

      As for training camp being characterized as "fun," it is for spectators, but, trust me, the players see training camp as anything but fun. ;-)

      Have a great weekend!

      xo

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  4. Awww! Sounds like you all had a really great time. Good for you two! It's funny how what you have to do in the sport can be opposite from life, but there are some things I can think of that sometimes line up with the positive things we have learned in life, too. I was thinking of those things so it was nice to read your list and get a good run down of what they learn in camp. :)

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    1. Thank you very much, Brittnei, I appreciate your words. And your visit.

      I hope your weekend is off to a great start...

      xo

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  5. sounds like a really fun afternoon! and, i love the 10 lessons :-)

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    1. Thank you so very much for your visit, and I THOROUGHLY enjoyed your blog on your SITS Day!

      Have a fabulous weekend!

      xo

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  6. This is awesome. I love football (Green Bay fan here!) and cannot wait for it to start up again. I loved your pictures of training camp and how you were able to mingle and be in the action - very cool. So glad I found you on SITS today! Let the games begin... :-)

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    1. Um, VITA Train for Life? I like you. I really, really like you.

      Your comment made me very happy, and I'm going to tell you why: First, I LOVE that you are a Green Bay fan -- our "rival." I say the word rival in jest because I so don't take that kind of thing seriously, yet I love it when people proudly root for the NFL -- no matter what team! We're all part of one big family, the way I see it, but I love hearing from fans from all over the league. So, yes, Go Packers, too!

      Your comment got me energized.

      "Let the games begin."

      ^^^Yes, this!

      Thank you for your visit, and thank you for your comment.

      xo

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  7. Yay for training camp! You two are the cutest couple ever! I didn't know QBs wore red for that reason. "Nice and rough" - from Tina Turner's Proud Mary. I adore that woman! Have a great weekend!

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    1. Lexa, you DO know your comment has made my day -- no, week -- right? What with the lack of sleep I've been getting around these parts (we've got the double-whammy of K still nursing while also trying to potty train Scotty), it is positively uplifting to be complimented on your appearance.

      I think the brim of my baseball cap is concealing the bags under my eyes, by the way.

      And I wasn't even thinking about "Proud Mary" when I penned this post, but, yes, I concur: "Go, Tina!" I LOVE her, too!

      xo

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  8. LUCKY! I'm a football fan from way back- since I was a little girl watching the NFL every Sunday afternoon and attending college games some weekends. LOVE me some football!

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    1. Empty Nester, you are my kind of people. Let me just cut to the chase and declare that right away.

      Like you, my love of the game runs deep -- long before, in fact, I married into it. ;-)

      Thank you so much for sharing your comment, and enjoy your weekend.

      xo

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  9. My Goodness!

    How awesome of an experience this had to have been. And, how amazing that you could see all of our life lessons in the reverse and still within the rules of engagement.

    Though we are now out west, my husband and I go to AZ to see the Lions and Cardinals each year and there are thousands of Lions fan there,=. It is so refreshing --- We Love It!

    Happy SITS Day Beautiful Soul! Your Blog is the B-O-M-B and I learn something new each time I stop by.

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    1. Thank you, Yulunda! I am honored -- do you hear me? HONORED -- that you take time out of your day to spend it here with us. Thank you so very much.

      And one more thing: Goooooooooooooo Lions!!!!

      xo

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  10. Wow! Your husband is built like...well...a football player! Glad you got to have a good time without the kiddos! Looks like fun!

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    1. Hi, there! OMG. It was great to get away -- even if only for the afternoon. We had a BLAST!

      And what do you mean about The Hubs? He's such a tiny dude...NOT! Lol

      Wanna hear the truth though? I'm so used to his size that OTHER guys seem small to me now! Scott is my normal! (This is a common occurrence among NFL wives, actually. :-/

      Thanks for your comment!

      xo

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