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A Page Football Story; Kind of Sad, Too

A Page Football Story; Kind of Sad, Too
February 09
04:16 2021

By Steven Law

Coach Bubba Billie

From a kid’s first pee-wee football practice until his last down as a senior in high school, certain principles of the game are continuously drilled into his head until it’s simply a part of their character, a part of his code, a part of his ethos. Perhaps the two principles of the game coaches emphasize most are: play till the whistle blows, and leave it all on the field.

But this year there were no whistles; there was no field. And that was hard to take for a lot of Sand Devils football players.

“It was pretty heartbreaking,” said Page High School head football coach Bubba Billie. “There were a lot of ups and downs associated with it. For a while we thought we might have a season, then maybe a modified season in the spring. But one day it was pretty clear we weren’t going to have a season. It was hard watching the boys go through that.”

It was particularly hard on the seniors who had put in the sweat equity, who had trained and sacrificed to earn a spot on the team and a chance to shine on the gridiron.

It was a strange time for Coach Billie too. “This was the first time in my adult life that I wasn’t involved in coaching,” he said.

Last fall, during a time when Coach Billie and his team still held out hope that there might be a season, Billie and his fellow coaches implemented on online training program to provide support for their student athletes, to keep them fit and focused.

Coach Bubba at practice in 2019

During the first semester, workouts were shared with players through email, Facebook, and even the U.S. postal services for those students with less-than-reliable internet service. But the program lacked a true accountability piece, said Coach Billie.

But, in the opening weeks of the new school year, the teachers and students had gotten pretty good using Google classroom and they moved their online training programs onto that platform. The new system came with improved accountability and after that, Coach Billie saw more of his student athletes getting involved, completing their daily workouts, filling out their daily logs, and submitting their progress reports.

“And with Google classroom, we can include videos that demonstrate the specific training exercises, which helps a lot,” said Coach Billie.

During the program’s first two weeks, players got back into the swing of things with basic fitness and football drills. The next six weeks got more specific, with coaches creating drills for specific positions. For instance, linemen are doing footwork drills, receivers doing receiving drills.

Coach Billie plans to continue the online training program into the coming months.

“But really, I’m hopeful that after Spring Break we get together again and do the work outs in person.”

The program has a second purpose, just as important as fitness and skills training, and that is maintaining camaraderie, team unity and a readiness mindset. And Coach Billie believes maintaining that contact and team cohesiveness has helped his student-athletes feel less isolated, which can be a serious obstacle these days with everything happening remotely, and in bubbles.

“I have my players call me now,” said Coach Billie. “We’re getting back into the team mindset again. For me, it feels great to be back in contact with my players, and I think they probably feel the same way.”

A Page Football Story; Kind of Sad, Too - overview

Summary: A Page Football Story; Kind of Sad, Too

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