Jim McConnell puts you to the test, gets your ready for the high school football season

By Jim McConnell
Football is a series of 6-second wars. Think about it. The average length of a play in football is six seconds. Reach down to shell a peanut and you’re liable to miss the turning point in a game. And that’s the point. Just as players must practice, spectators need to whip themselves into prime-time shape to prepare for another season of football. To continue reading, click thread

Watching the pros, on TV or in person, is a snap. All you have to do is to wait for the instant replay.

Unfortunately, in high school football there’s no such animal. That means your powers of concentration will be severely tested.

So let’s start with the 6-second test. For the next six seconds put your newspaper aside – yes, I know it’s difficult but you can do it – and concentrate on a spot on the wall, or a photo of your spouse or your Manny Ramirez bobblehead doll. Look at nothing else. Say nothing. Eat nothing. And, above all, drink nothing.

Six seconds is a long time, huh?

Now, take a break for 30 seconds and repeat the procedure. Do this about 100 times in one sitting and you’ve completed the drill.

High school football season opens locally the week of Sept. 1. This doesn’t give you much time to get into proper condition.

Between your 6-second drills, you need to go to your garage and get out the seat cushions. Those bleachers get mighty uncomfortable by the fourth quarter.

My wife Diana bought us a pair of cushions that featured attached seat backs. They were very comfy. Problem is, I put them away after the season and now for the life of me I cannot remember where I put them.

Oh well. We’ll just have to be content with those LA T-Birds souvenir cushions Roller Derby promoter Bob Sedillo gave me a while back. The best thing about them is they are unlikely to be stolen.

While it seems silly right now, eventually you also will need a lap blanket. It gets downright cold come October. In fact, if you are married or have a significant other, you will need two blankets. If you are courting, one will suffice. I could explain this further, but there just isn’t enough room in the sports section.

Binoculars seem to have become passe. You still might want to bring along a pair. It may be hard to believe, but there are dull spots in even the most exciting high school game. The binoculars give you a toy to fiddle with, especially if your team is getting its collective tails whipped. Do the cheerleaders’ outfits have zippers or buttons? Or both?

Remember the binoculars.

Unlike the players, headgear is optional for fans. Still, I like the notion of wearing a cap. It gives you something to throw in the event of a bad call.

Here’s something not to bring: artificial noise-makers. The world doesn’t need airheads with air horns.

When you get to the game, don’t forget to buy a program. There’s usually a coupon in there for a discount on a large pizza. Oh yes, there’s also rosters and a message from the principal. However, since you never paid any attention to the principal when you were in school, you can skip over that.

Next up is a stop at the souvenir stand. In vogue are hats, T-shirts, sweatshirts and rally towels featuring your school’s mascot. Not in voge are those foam-rubber No. 1 fingers. They’re dumb and block other spectators’ views. Also not in vogue are pom-poms (unless you are female or very brave).

And, before you take your seat, don’t forget a visit to the concession stand. Best bet is a hot dog. You can fix it up to your liking, at no extra expense, you can eat it and still watch the action and they’re just gosh-darn good. Worst bet are cheese nachos. They are messy, usually stale, that processed cheese food tastes like glue and you have to share.

OK, now you’re ready. Your powers of concentration are at their peak. You are appropriately attired and fortified. The future is now. You are committed to excellence. All that’s left is getting measured for a CIF championship ring.

Enjoy the season. And, win or lose, be a good sport.


(626) 962-8811, Ext. 2306

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