Sunday, April 24, 2011

The End of Spring Football

There are so many ways to mark the passage of time; the semester slips by in a cycle of ups and downs. The end of spring semester draws near with the onset of finals and the beginning of wondrous sunny weather.

The end of spring semester is also marked by the annual spring football game, pitting the USC offense against the USC defense. After 15 solid practices across 5 weeks, the stage is set for the football players to show what they've learned throughout spring football.

Except it wasn't much of a game. Our defensive unit trounced the offence 42-29 after Dillon Baxter threw the only touchdown pass of today's game to Matt Barkley in the final play. At the end of the day, either our defense is much improved (compared to last year) or else our offensive line sucks this year - and I'm hoping it's not the second one.  Since I was assigned to look over the defensive linemen, my heart will always be loyal to the defense instead of the offense.

Since I'm not working football in the fall, today is somewhat bittersweet. It will be my last time working with the football team, forever. And while everyone is thanking Jesus today (it's Easter Sunday) that we no longer have to wake up at 5am and sell our livelihoods to the football program, we all admit that it was a great experience. In hindsight, it is probably a VERY good thing that I wasn't assigned to work football in the fall. I don't need an extracurricular to consume my life during my last year in college. On Saturday, we started setup around 9:45am and got back to Heritage Hall to finish unpacking around 4:50pm. Just like that, my Saturday was gone.

But I'm never going to be a part of a Division I football team again or work with potential NFL candidates. I'm never going to dine at the Galen Center with the athletes again. I'm never going to have a job where one of the occupational hazards was being run over by defensive backs divings towards the sidelines (believe me, there have been more than one close shaves). There's no other place at USC that has more pride and school spirit than the football team.

Things I wont miss about football: consistently being the "water girl", waking up at 5am in the mornings, trying to figure where to stand so as not to be tackled by football players in training, manual labor setting up and disassembling things on the field, and giving up my Saturdays for practice from 7:45am - 2pm.

I realize it's hard for girls to be a part of the football program. They are scared of girls being a potential distraction for the football team. They are scared of girls sleeping with members of the football team - which has happened before. There is a lot of physical lifting that girls aren't capable of. In addition, girls can't go inside the football team locker room when they are changing or showering.

So I look back at the past spring working with the football team with fond memories. Hopefully next fall, working with the swim team, diving team, and waterpolo team will be just as meaningful.

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