I was just thinking about this:
When I was a kid, and played for Beltsville Boys Club in Beltsville, Maryland, our team sponsor was Phil's Bar and Grill. I think that I was 9 or 10 years old.
And I think that we were what, 80 pounds? And Phil's sponsoring us was no big deal. No parents said a word. It was never brought up. Now? Oh man, it would be all over the news and the PC police would be going nuts and the end of the world be looming closer and closer because of the sponsorship. MY GOD! What are they doing to our kids?
And at practice the coaches used to send us over to the woods to go to the bathroom and they would yell, "If you shake it more than once you are playing with it!"
And Coach Miller used to say, "Men, there are two things in life that you want to avoid. The Army and wind sprints." He was a Marine, covered in old tattoos. Before tattoos were cool.
And he used to say, "Men, it's the day before the game. Have your mommas lock you in the closet and slide raw meat under the door to make you mean. And no bubble baths or loose women." My Dad would just laugh when I would relate what Coach said to us. No big deal.
I remember we would drive up to practice and the coaches of the teams would all be sitting around smoking, leaning on their trucks. They had all worked long days but they loved football, and they volunteered their time. No parents were ever at practice. My dad would sometimes sit in the car, but it was in the parking lot, a hundred yards away. It would have been embarrassing for your parents to be there. Your mom and dad have to watch you practice?
And we would get to practice early and play "Maul Ball", and then the coaches would walk down the hill and we would begin practice. The smell of the grass! The hitting and being hit, the challenges! Getting your butt whooped and doing some whooping! That is life, man! It teaches you things. Man, it was great.
And practice would end after about an hour. I don't remember anyone getting hurt. Ever. We didn't have water bottles, or coolers full of water. There was no such thing. And it was hot, Maryland humid hot. Nobody ever said it was hot. Because it was fun.
Actually, you didn't have something to drink until your Dad took you to High's Dairy Store for a Slush Puppy or 7-11 for a Slurpee. Cola flavored for me. Sometimes my Dad and I would go to Highs and buy a box of ice cream sandwiches and eat the whole damn box before we got to the house. It was around a mile, I reckon. We wolfed those things down.
Yeah, I know things have changed. But it was better back then.