Give credit where credit is due

By Wendell Womack

The season has started for high school football all across America, with college and professional just around the corner.

The hard days of summer, that consist of the early morning weight training, the hot hours of running, and the dreaded “2 a days” has now come to an end and it’s time to put it all to the test. The high powered running backs, quarterbacks, and receivers that will electrify the fans with their touchdowns are biting at the bits to let their talents of speed, quickness, and agility be demonstrated. Each Friday night and Saturday morning, these superstars will watch the late night sports report and rush to get the early morning newspaper to see their names in the scoring section.

The touchdowns they score puts their team in the winners column, which leads to district championships and hopefully, state championships. All teams must have these kind of talented players to succeed and reach victory. But while these point makers are watching the news report and reading their names in the newspaper, the people behind the scene are at home, mending their bruised and broken bodies.

They will never hear their name called out on the Friday night sports report, or see their name listed in the newspaper in the scoring section. They will never receive the pat on the backs after the touchdowns are scored or the high fives from the coaches on the sideline. These unsung heroes are the linemen.

These human bulldozers get plenty of football action, but it is all in the trenches, where the dirty play and cheap shots are taken. They take the blind hits to the knees and ankles, and the hidden punches to the mid section while they are man handling their opponent, and making an opening for the running back to cross the goal line. Although these equally important players don’t get the credit they deserve, they do get the respect and praise from their coaches and touchdown makers, because if it were not for them, the opening in the line would not have been made to allow the touchdown.

The linemen know their duties and responsibilities, and take pride in putting their size and strength to the test in each game. They know that it takes a full team to produce victory and it could not be done without them. They might not see their name in lights, but when they walk into the locker room after the game with the mud, blood, and bruises all over their bodies, the touchdown makers will be the first to pat them on the back for their job well done.

Because they know that had it not been for their linemen, they would not be the “heroes” of the night. So the next time you attend a football game of any level, pat the players with the 50,60 and 70 numbers on their back after the game, and congratulate and thank them for their efforts. They don’t expect to see their names in the newspaper, but they deserve all the glory and respect just the same.