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Football and Cupcakes Don’t Mix

I recently started coaching freshman football for Piedmont High School this year.  My son is on the team and I have coached a lot of these kids in flag football for the last two years, but I didn’t really know what to expect from them now that they have full pads on. 

We started with 28 guys when our Two-a-Days started.  After the first week, we were down to 18 and yesterday there were only 14 due to injuries.  At this point I don’t know if we will be able to field a team in the next couple weeks.  I think some of the boys don’t know the difference between an ache ‘n pain versus an injury.  Of course, I want all the boys to stay healthy but Football is a really really hard sport.  It’s not for everybody.

We have a name for the “injured” players: Cupcakes.  When they go to the training room, they get “frosted.” 

One of the boys came out to the field with his nice watch on.  The other coach says to him, “Hey Sunny, for the next two hours I don’t think you are going to need to worry about what time it is out here on the field.”

Overall, my experience during the last two weeks has been amazing.  I’ve noticed a phenomenon which baffles me: an intelligent freshman boy can put on a helment and instantly turn dumb.  I don’t know why this happens, but as I remember back to my days in highschool, college, and even in the NFL, there were players who came from Stanford, Northwestern, and Ivy League schools who turned dumb as soon as they put their helmets on.  I attribute atleast part of this phenomenon to the overwhelming situation of playing defensive football: lining up, thinking about your responsibility in the play, reading whether its a run or a pass, trying to make a tackle, taking on blocks . . . all the different scenarios that can play out.

My goals for these young players are, by the end of the year, for them to truly understand hard work, dedication, and true commitment.  LIke I said before, Football is really really hard.  It’s not for everybody.  But sometimes just knowing that you have 27 other boys counting on you to make it out to practice is enough to get you out there to be tough and work through the pain and.  I know at the end of the year, how ever many guys we have standing on the field, will have learned what it takes to be a good, if not a great, defense.  I hope they will know who they can count on and who they can’t, and how important it is to, even if you make a mistake, make that mistake at 100% effort.  It takes zero talent to make effort so I expect balls to the wall at all times.

Hopefully we will have very few Cupcakes come game time.

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7 Responses to “Football and Cupcakes Don’t Mix”

  1. Mike"Oly" Olson said:

    Hey Romo, sounds like your coaching at an all girls school. Just kidding, kind of. It must be frustrating. Schoch pulled Randall out of Culver last week and he will be playing for me this year over at Chaparral. Should be a fun year as I have a great group of athletes. I have a hunt date set the weekend of 11-15. Hit me back. Oly. P.S. Great website!

  2. Jeff Bailey said:

    Hi Bill,

    Nice to hear you’re coaching high school football. I thought I’d let you know that your name came up just yeaterday at a football practice in Southern California. My wife went to school with you at Rockville High School and we remain in contact with several of the old freinds. One of your former Raider teammates is coaching with us, and it would be great to have you come down for a visit with our players sometime…? South Orange County is a great place to visit. Give it some thoughts…

  3. Jeri said:

    Hey Bill,
    Biggest problem today is kids are just plain soft all over (not only in the head). I have 3 sons all who played pee-wee through high school football. 2 played defense and although sore never came home hurt. 1 played wide receiver. 2 concussions and a broken clavicle were his ticket home. But today I look at my sons sons and they are just plain soft. Perhaps if they got out and played dodgeball instead of playing Xbox they’d be able to make the cut.

    We have no one to blame but ourselves.

  4. Tom Taggart said:

    I would like to contradict what the above statment said. From my experience Growing up in Nova Scotia Canada, and Playing Football. I know that high schools in the states produce better skilled football players than ours, But I will tell you right now we worked hard and no body who made the final cut ever wussed out of practice or games. In fact in my senior yeari played the last half of the season with broken ribs and 25 stitches in my chest that would break open everygame. did i complain? no just poped a few advils and went out and played my guts out. Kids today are a product of where they grow up and how their raised. You grow up in a city and site on your butt and play video games all day, yea your probably gunna be a pansy in gear. You grow up working on a farm or in a saw mill (like me) and knowing that hard work is the only thing that will take you places in life, then your more likely to be tough as nails on the feild. Its all how your brought up and disaplined at a young age.

  5. Marty Bainum said:

    Hey Bill

    Hey Bill iv been a huge fan of you and my favorite team the raiders since i was a little kid. Iv read your book and seen your movies your a great inspiration. Now down here in Clinton Tn we might not be the best team but we work are butts off. We have many great athletes and we all love you down here. You are the reason i started football. I even have the same number 53.I can only wish i can go as far as you im working hard. Im working hard benching 315 and squating 405. Having problems with squats due to 2 knee surgery already. Well get back at me if you can.

  6. Sidney santana said:

    Dear Mr. Romanowski,
    i am 16 years old and i play on a jv football team and i have been playing for almost 9 years football is my favorite sport but i play offensive line and im the smallest o-line man but i try my hardest in practice and games but my coach durong the games will sit and yell like crazy for our starting line guys are holding and leting guys through the line like a hot knife through butter i stand right next to him and have my helmet buckled and ready to go but he will not sub me in so i never get the chance to prove myself to him. i would like to know if you had any advice for me?

    Thank you so much,


  7. Thomas Gaarde said:

    Mr. Romanowski
    I am a high school sophomore, and have enjoyed reading your book very much. I do have a question about your “Appendix A: Romo’s recommendations”. Since the book was published in 2005, would you say the recommendations are still up to date, or would you make any changes for the year 2009?
    Unfortunately, we aren’t in the playoffs this year, but I’m already looking forward to hitting the squat rack, and running sprints this offseason (next week), so I can earn a starting varsity LB job next season.

    Thanks for the inspiration to crack others,


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