Local football begins anew

CALUMET – What New Year’s Day is to normal folk, the first day of training camp represents for football players.

Promises are made, opportunities are seized upon, and if the heat index is high enough, there is some inevitable heaving at both.

A clean slate.

Monday marked the first day that Michigan high school teams could begin practice and Calumet was up and at ’em bright and early in balmy 60-degree conditions to start molding the 2013 version of the Copper Kings.

Whatever will be accomplished come September and October – it starts right now.

“We give them about 30 seconds to get adjusted,” Calumet head coach John Croze said with a smile. “Then they have to step in and pick it up. That is the expectation.

“It is a great opportunity for this year’s seniors to step forward and be leaders. They are going to try and build the season for how they want it to go.”

A veteran of over 20 preseason camps, Croze had the Kings moving efficiently Monday. As soon as one group of personnel finished, another was hurrying to the line of scrimmage to take their place.

With just three days before the pads come on (Thursday), Croze knows how vital it is to have his team up to speed mentally when the drills begin to take a more physical form.

“I think we are just looking to build our routine and continue with the Copper King traditions that we always try to instill,” Croze said. “We look to our veterans to help instill that in other kids.

“It is a Copper King football family, and we are just trying to build (from day one) like that. Now it is up to this year’s group to continue on the traditions.”

The “sports-as-a-metaphor” concept long ago past the point of overused, but it is hard not to get caught up in the cliche the first day camp breaks.

There are literally jobs to be seized. The camaraderie that makes football so intoxicating builds from this point forward. The opportunity is what you make of it.

Over all walks of life, people search for a fresh start like that all the time.

Football enjoys one every August.

“It is a lot of things to think about,” Croze said. “It can be tough starting fresh every year but it is also a lot of fun to do it too.

“Every year is a different personality with the team and you just have to roll with it.”