By John Bombatch
XENIA — It’s been said there’s no crying in baseball, and that may be so. But there’s plenty of laughter in football, especially on Mom’s Football Practice Day at Doug Adams Stadium.
Xenia High School coach Bob DeLong and several of his varsity players put the players’ moms, sisters and cousins through their paces for a hot, muggy and obviously fun-filled evening of football practice.
DeLong had each of the 26 ladies grab a pair of shoulder pads and a helmet. He then showed them the many nuances of the game of football. Whether it was intentional or not, they even learned what a lockerroom smells like.
“It definitely smells real in here,” the 31-year veteran football coach told his “players.”
After introductions were made and DeLong explained what he was going to teach them during Tuesday evening’s session, everyone took to the field.
“Coach? If my mom forgets my helmet, does she do push-ups?” one player asked.
“Watch it, buddy,” the mom said in jest. Maybe.
A punting contest was held and Randi Davis, the mom of junior Andrew Davis and middle school player Austin Davis, won one of the contests. Tunisia Collette, mom to senior P.J. Thompson, also had a Golden Toe for punting prowess.
“Don’t kick the ball with your toes, it’ll hurt your toe nails,” DeLong advised his players. “It’s true. I learned that the hard way.”
In the passing contest, inwhich DeLong first showed the women how to grip the football, Randi Davis and Tracie Rogers (sophomore Kenneth Klontz’s mom) threw the ball the farthest.
Cheri Lockwood had a bunch of hair to tuck under her helmet, so she had Xenia senior Kyle Hollen, who also has a good head of hair, to put her hair up in a bun for her.
“He’s friends with my son, and with all his hair, I knew that he knew how to do it, so I just had him help me,” she explained, between laughs.
The women pushed the Xenia players backward while learning how to block.
When one group saw they’d be blocking 6-foot-4, 200-pound P.J. Thompson, a mom yelled out “Hey coach! We need a smaller kid!”
The women also were taught the proper way to make a tackle.
Aside from the tackling dummy, only one other injury occurred: Kriste England (middle schooler Jake England’s mom) cut her chin while making a tackle.
“No, I’m fine really. This was fabulous! I can’t wait to do it again,” England said. “I enjoyed having a little bonding time with my son.”
“And she learned how to put on a chin strap!” chimed in another player.
DeLong then brought the players back into the lockerroom to learn the names of each offensive and defensive position. He told them about some of the rule differences that separate high school football from the college or professional game.
“This is the sixth year that we’ve done this at Xenia High School and I really enjoy doing it,” he told the team. “It’s one of my favorite things to do.”
John Bombatch can be reached at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.