Thank you, Jesus, that the Johnny Manziel drama is over and we can get back to regular programming: winning a national football championship, baby!
About a month ago, I attended the annual Chalk Talk for Women, hosted by the Texas A&M coaching staff. It’s pretty much the Aggie equivalent of dying and going to heaven. And, in the case of this year’s event, it really did save my sanity.
You see, just a few hours prior to arriving in College Station, Scott and I met with the craniofacial surgeon regarding Luke’s brain surgery. What we assumed to be a a pre-surgery visit (as in, we’ll see you in the OR in a few weeks) turned out to be we’ll see you in SIX DAYS. Um, yeah. The heart was not ready for that. I even asked Scott if I should bail and not go with my girlfriends to Chalk Talk.
Absolutely not. He wouldn’t hear of it. He gave me a huge hug, said “we’ll figure this out, now go have a blast” and sent me on my way.
On the way to the rendezvous point with my girlfriends, I could feel the tears falling, one right after the other. How could I possibly have a good time? I had SO been looking forward to this event and now it felt like my perfectly planned surgery world – the one in which I decided the date (BWHAHAHA) – was crashing down. At one point I think I started hyperventilating. But, my mascara started to run and that never ends well.
I arrived at Bea’s house and she and Laurie had alcohol and chocolate waiting for me. I declined the margarita but took them up on the Snickers. You see, Laurie is Luke’s occupational/feeding therapist and Class of ’91 and Bea, Class of ’98, has a kiddo with special needs. They get me. And, they talked me off the ledge all the way to College Station. God must’ve known the two things that would reign in my heart: Aggie football and two moms who know.
He is good, y’all.
Okay, back to football. This woman-only event was off the hook. We arrived to a room full of 800 women and some very big, very muscular football players. What do they feed these people? Admittedly, two of the coolest parts of dinner were being led in prayer by one of the players and getting a photo with the man himself, Coach Sumlin. They let us take as many pictures as we wanted and ask any question. Word on the street is Coach Kingsbury does something similar up in Lubbock, but he doesn’t allow cameras. Lame, Kliff.
We enjoyed a great dinner by Texas Land and Cattle and after some pretty hilarious coach introductions, the offensive, defensive and special teams coordinators walked us through Football 101. While I knew a fair amount, I finally learned what the nickel defense means. Oh yeah, I feel smarter already. We even managed to squeeze in some time with our good buddies Heisman and Cotton. Sweet!
Then, it was time to divide all those women up into three groups and really ramp up the fun factor. I wish you could’ve been there to hear Coach Sumlin get that show on the road. He is a such a coach, and a fabulous one at that.
As a member of the SEC group, we ventured to the locker room first. Clearly, some of those gals missed the “wear comfortable clothes” memo. We were able to stand in the players’ lockers, mingle with some football boys, take all the pictures we wanted (heaven!), see the uniforms and ask the equipment staff any ‘ol question our heart desired. I was especially impressed to see this. Take time to say thanks, life is never too short for that sentiment.
Next up was the player panel. Can you say “starting offensive line”? Those are some polite, and very funny, boys. And oh my stars they are huge. HUGE. A&M football is in some mighty capable hands. We peppered them with questions and they did a fantastic job.
We ended our rotation in the “player development center” aka the baddest weight room you have ever seen. Coach Jackson put some of the freshmen through some hurdle drills. There’s a reason why he’s the top strength and conditioning coach in the country. The lesson I learned from him? The strength comes from your hips. If you’re not agile and strong there, you’ll lose to the competition. I’m not sure how those 6’7″ boys ran through those hurdles so fast, but wow. That ain’t no joke.
We gathered up our gear and headed to the best part of the evening: drill time on Kyle Field. The lights were on, music blazing and the coaches led us all through a maze of drills. It was a complete, and total, blast. Pat and runs, field goals, fast feet – we did it all. Good thing I didn’t know Coach Sumlin caught this on video until after. I’m just grateful I managed to keep upright. An especially memorable part of the evening was Coach Banks (pictured below) enlightening us on a little something he does with the team. Keyword hydrate, right coach?
Undoubtedly, it was one of the best nights I’ve spent in College Station. I walked away feeling even more proud of our football program, our coaching staff and my beloved alma mater. I smell some pigskin fame headed our way. Save me a seat at the table boys, I’ll be there next year!
Twitter Handles for the Coaching staff, you know, in case you’re into that:
Coach Kevin Sumlin, head Coach
Coach Jeff Banks, Special Teams
Coach David Beaty, Wide Receivers
Coach Mark Hagen, Linebackers
Coach Mark Snyder, Defensive Coordinator
Coach Jake Spavital, Quarterbacks
Coach Marcel Yates, Co-Defensive Coordinator, Secondary