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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports
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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, July 29, 2003
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By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

High school practice jogs the old memory banks

©2003 Bonesville.net

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It is yet another sign that football is just around the corner.

The state opened high school football practice on Monday night. It’s an extremely early date, but many schools are playing endowment games on August 15th.

School starts in Pitt County on August 11th. That is just way too early for me.

In fact, many area schools will have played three games before East Carolina even tees it up, and the Pirates open early this year.

There is some outstanding talent in Eastern North Carolina. The top running back around, Andre Brown, plays his games about 2 miles from Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. It sure would be nice to see Mr. Brown in purple and gold next year.

Word on the street is that assistant J.B. Grimes’ son will be one of the big guys paving the way for Brown this year with the Rose Rampants.

I saw East Carolina assistant coach Jerry McManus’ son, Ryan, at Conley on Monday night. The younger McManus is an outstanding athlete, but he’ll have his hands full calling the signals for a very young Viking squad.

I didn’t get down to see them on Monday night, but New Bern is expected to be very good again this year.

Historically, our area features some great prep football programs and outstanding coaches. These guys work very hard — and many go on to form the cornerstone for East Carolina in recruiting.

Obviously, the Pirates have expanded their recruiting base with John Thompson as coach. But Thompson will be the first one to tell you that you still have to get the blue chippers from your own backyard in order to be successful.

Emotions at practice

I was never a great high school football player, but being back on the field is like an intense trip back in time...

Watching the guys run gassers, smelling the freshly cut grass and the not so fresh sweat, hearing the piercing sound of the whistle, trying to figure out just how much time was left in practice... trying to figure out if I could get a date for after the game that Friday, wondering if I would have time to study after practice, wondering if I could ever do anything to please the coach... wearing that jersey on Friday to school, standing for the national anthem, running through the cheerleaders and onto the field, delivering that first hit... surviving that first hit, getting yelled at during halftime, hearing the band finishing up, running back on the field, winning the game... taking off the jersey for the last time.

Yes, I rambled. But these are my thoughts as high school football kicks off. I told the guys on Monday that these were the best days of their lives.

Man, was it a blast! I can only imagine what it would have been like with just a little bit of talent!

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02/23/2007 01:26:04 AM

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