It goes without saying, you can’t just show up and expect the season to take care of itself. Planning, fundraising and the infamous first two weeks of two-a-days. All important and necessary elements to getting a season started off on the right foot.
Anyone living in Lakeville is familiar with the Lakeville booster coupon book, coupon sheet…it comes in many forms.
This summer the North football team sold “Panther Brew” coffee, golf cards and held the 1st Annual Panther Football Golf Tournament. Head Coach Brian Vossen even writes in a fundraising plea on the team website “the overall cost to run a program only seems to go one way – up, that is. I wish it wasn’t that way.” A common sentiment nowadays as the cost to run a program continues to rise and school funding generally is going down.
Fundraising comes along with registration, the “behind the scenes” element to prep football. A program doesn’t function without funding and without people getting involved. A seemingly tedious process that leads up to the fall season start date on August 15th, however it never really ends.
August 15th marks the first day of two-a-days which last for two weeks. Then the next two weeks is the time spent gearing up for the first game of the season. Coach Vossen says, “I think that there’s this perception that coaches love two-a-days and that’s not necessarily the case. I look forward to the first game week.”
The first game comes up on September 1st, a Thursday game, one that Coach Vossen chose to have. It allows the team to enjoy a light weekend after getting the first game of the season out of the way. It’s something every team looks forward to. It also means that some real work is getting done.
Teams don’t gather a bulk of information about their team until that first scrimmage takes place. And even then, it’s not a real game-type situation, as much as coaches try to imitate the atmosphere. Situational exercises just don’t compare to actually going through the work in a live game.
The Panthers scrimmage this year takes place on Saturday August 27th at North High School with Farmington, North Saint Paul and Armstrong.
With Lakeville North’s first game of the season coming up on a Thursday, Coach Vossen is preparing for Eastview. It begins the second week of two-a-days. Fundamentals and making sure everyone is comfortable with each other and in their pads for the first week. Then it’s game prep all of week two and into game week.
Having the game on a Thursday doesn’t change a whole lot of how the team prepares, but it does a little bit. Coach Vossen explains, “…because it’s after all the two-a-days and all the practices you get in, everyone’s just hungry to start playing. Guys don’t really see a break from anything until after that first game.”
Who would’ve thought one of the most time consuming and tedious parts of the football season actually comes before the first game kicks off?
From fundraising to practice, there is always work to be done to maintain a football program. It’s the “busy season”, making that kick off to the first game of the season all the more of a relief. To finally get to football, getting to the games, the Friday (or Thursday ) nights, getting to what Lakeville North Football Coach Brian Vossen calls his favorite part of the football season.