The day is marked on every football family’s calendar with a big red circle with a big fat marker; the opening of training camp.
Last season is put behind you and the new team gets to work developing chemistry with the returners and newcomers filtering in. That day this year for everyone across the UIL was Aug. 5 and the Sealy Tigers were part of the wave of teams kicking things off for real in 2019.
Athletes reported to the locker room by 6 a.m. and head coach Shane Mobley said the team hit the field around 7:30 a.m. For some, it was a simple tune-up but for others, it was a whirlwind of information from the get-go.
“For some of the younger ones it’s like their head’s spinning but for some of the returners it’s just knocking out the cobwebs,” Mobley said.
Despite that early start and information overload for some, the coach also brought up the sights of friends rekindling and greeting one other after some weeks and months apart.
“To see all the faces, some of the kids who are returning, some of the kids who we haven’t seen a lot of this summer whether they were working or what have you, it’s just great to see them and get back into the swing of things,” Mobley said. “It’s fun to see them hug each other, see each other, see how their summer’s been going, all that little stuff.”
Mobley attacks this preseason without a set varsity, JV or freshman team, and instead assigns either black or gold to group athletes and rotate them evenly between the offensive and defensive drills. As the days go on, teams will start to take their place but for this stretch, he wants everyone to take a fresh look at things this year.
“The only ones inside the varsity locker room were the returning starters and seniors but starting after (Monday’s first) practice and going forward, we’ll start handing out the matte black helmets as the kids earn them,” Mobley said of the defining moment a varsity Tiger is made. “We’re not going to give it to
them, they’re going to earn it and that way it’s a pride situation not just for the team but for the individual athlete.”
That sort of push to the players helps them grow not only as athletes but also into the men these coaches are helping mold them into and from that perspective, Monday was just another day of living the dream.
“For us (coaches) it’s another day in paradise to do what we’re blessed to be able to do,” Mobley said. “I was telling the seniors when we pulled up after practice and I said, ‘Congratulations, that’s the last time you’ll run 16 100 (yard sprints) as a Sealy Tiger; this is your last first day of two-a-days.’ Everything that they do from here on out is their last time and that goes back to the spring and you can see it, you can tell that they’ve done their deal I’m just proud of them, I really am.”