UNH Football Gameday

UNH Football Gameday


When I get in here, the band’s
warming up out on the field. They’re doing their
pregame practice. We only get what, five
home games a year. So it’s definitely one of
the five highlights of the year, for sure. It’s about 7:40 in
the morning. We’re just setting up the
jerseys for the guys, before they get in. We’re a little behind
schedule. But we’ll be all right. That’s how we role. We used to set them up in
the equipment room. And all 105 guys, or whatever,
would come down and get them from us. So thinking outside the box
here, we just decided we’d set it up, and make it look good. About 8:30, I start up the
rollers, and I get them on. Coach Mac usually likes to
be in about 9 o’clock. And so we make sure we have a
couple dogs on early for him. I don’t eat breakfast. My breakfast is three hot dogs
from the grills, downstairs in the equipment room. The tradition really is, anybody
who is associated with the program, whether it be a
coach, an athletic trainer– really, all the support staff
can go back here and have one. As far as we know, it’s about
40-plus years old, started by Jack French in the
early 1970s. Everyone has their
own routine. Some guys go in and eat a
couple, a few at one time. I go in. I have one at a time, three
different times. I like to get down there, have
one of the first ones. We can’t go out to the game
without at least having one. Well, maybe two, right? Three’s the number I got now. Before, it was two. I don’t know, it
doesn’t matter. But I usually have
three hot dogs. They space them out
a little bit. Sometimes I don’t know what’s
more important, the jerseys and the gear for the guys on
game day, or getting the hot dogs ready for 9:00
AM in the morning. It’s unique. It’s the one place I’ve been
that has something like this. I think it’s awesome. The football team has
breakfast at 8:30. So they get here around 9:00. They’ve been playing so long,
most of them that some of them will have routines that they’d
like to do before they play. Mostly ankles. A lot of wrists and hands. Today we did a couple
of knees. It’s just to give the ligaments
some support. A lot of the back stuff that you
saw is just getting their backs loose. We call it elbows. It’s kind of like a pressure
point massage thing. Some of them like
to screw around. Some of them are very quiet. Some of them are worried,
nervous, anxious. Thanks. I’m going to try. By and large, athletes have an
understanding outlook on life. You see them when they’re
freshman. And they don’t know anything. And you see them when
they’re seniors. And they’re just about to
go out in the world, and contribute. The development is
really what’s so interesting about the job. Yes. I joke with the coaches
about this. It’s probably my favorite
part of UNH Football. We have what we call the
crow’s nest up top. It’s the two windows, if you
look at the very top of the field house, from the stadium. And you have to climb up what
is really a service ladder, to a catwalk. And then walk the cat walk along
the side of the indoor track, up to a crow’s nest,
which I believe Coach McDonnell built some
years ago. We always joke, how safe
is this thing up here? We have had some coaches afraid
of heights who’ve had to overcome that fear
pretty quickly. It really is a great view
to oversee everything. You can see the entire
field with ease. You see over the crowd. You see all 22 players
at once. Coach Sean Devine, who’s now at
Boston College, called it the best view in college
football. And that was his tradition,
every Saturday, when we finished climbing up the thing,
he sat down, exhaled, and said, the best view
college football. There’s three things
that separate us. Number one, I think, is
how smart we play. And I always tell them, we’ve
got to win the battle of mind. The next one is how
physical we play. And then, the last
thing we talk about is playing emotional. And we win the battle
of the heart. Go out and play the game, and
do it the way we’ve done it now since I played
here, in 1978. Those three or four things just
stuck in mind, when I started thinking about
how we play. You’re nervous and always
worrying about have we done enough? Are we prepared? Are we ready to go? Is this guy ready? You take a look, you know, which
way is the wind blowing? What are we going to
do if we receive? What are we going to do
if we have to kick? Got a million thoughts rushing
through your mind. And then you’re trying to stay
composed, check your emotion. But sometimes you’re so excited,
you’re ready to go.

About the Author: Garret Beatty

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