Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Last post for 2007 Season

It has come. The time to close out the 2007 season. And while it was not the most desirable season from the championship perspective, it did not end badly. I am healthy, 22 pounds lighter than when I started and feeling pretty good.

My ribs healed up pretty well, I had a minor ACL strain in my right knee a month ago and a slightly sprained right wrist at the end of the season. This is to match the two sets of bruises on my biceps from helmets I took in the arms. Not bad considering my age and the fact that I played like a mad man at the end.

I was finally able to get my pull speed up to the point where I was able to make good blocks on the sweeps and didn't have to rely on someone else to make the blocks for me. It was by all rights, a good hard season for which I am grateful. And while I am being grateful, I will take this time to wish all those who have followed my exploits this season, a very Merry Christmas and a joyous New Year.

And with this post I close out 2007 and look forward to 2008.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Two Games, Two Wins

A grueling day of football on any level. Not one game, but two were played. One might ask, why would anyone do that? Well, it is football after all.

In the first game, the East finally beat the West in the All Star game for the first time in 5 years. Fueled by the hard pressing running attack of the Outlaws and the Red Scorpions play style, the East was able to completely man handle the West for four quarters.

Elegant sweep blocking and quick draw plays made the offense go like a maelstrom. On a reverse, I made quick work of the defense on the running side of the play, blocking three defensive players allowing our running back to score from 25 yards out. The final score of the game was 19-0.

In the second game, the Gull Fighters took on the Dream Team. With both teams consisting mostly of older players well into their 40's and 50's, the play was both rough and unbridled. Many of these guys can still play but to the extent that the one game a year allows.

Of course, being in the same age range, means that I feel the pains like they do, except that of course, several of us who are still playing in the league are quite fit.

Our dream team ran out to a 19-0 lead at half with two flubbed point after attempts. It didnt get much better with the Gull fighters finally scoring four minutes into the fourth quarter. After they scored again three minutes later on an interception, we got serious again and scored a final touchdown making the score 25-12.

For those of you who have played the game, try this once. Play two games back to back (2 hour rest during stadium relocation) and then let me know how you feel. IT WAS A GOOD DAY FOR FOOTBALL!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mid Week Reportt

I am happy to say that the season is finally winding down and that the winter recovery time will begin, although it will be likely short thanks to the fact that I am looking at a February start to my next season. For those of you who missed my games in Tokyo, you will find me Playing in Auburn Washington next season if I can manage to stay healthy. At this point, I am going to take a month or so to swim a bit and get myself up to spec to start lifting a bit again. But of course, that wont start until the end of this weekend's games:

2007 JPFF All Star Game
12/23 at 9:30 am
Kawasaki Satadium

2007 Old Boy Association Game
12/23 at 1pm
Yokohama Stadium

Between these two games, I will likely be absolutely exhausted and likely to take Christmas eve off to recover.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Outlaws Win 7-0

In a game which was played under cold windy conditions at Kawasaki Stadium, the Tokorozawa Outlaws powered to a final score of 7-0. The game was pretty much one sided for the first half, with Tokorozawa managing to keep the opponents bottled up in their side of the field until mid way through the second quarter. After giving up a long pass to put the All-Stars on the 35 yard line, the Outlaws defense once again got stingy stuffing the All-Stars at the line of scrimmage on two consecutive plays. With the all stars needing 8 yards for a first down, they went with a play instead of a field goal and wound up getting stuffed once again.

The game continued much in this fashion until an All-Star fumble on their own 35 yard line gave the Outlaws a much needed break. After an incomplete pass on the first down of the drive, Tokorozawa pounded the ball 6 consecutive plays off tackle scoring the only touchdown of the game with 2:28 remaining in the fourth quarter. with the game seemingly over at that point, the ensuing kickoff went out of bounds. On the re-kick, the all-Stars moved right up to their own 45 yard line and quickly rattled off 12 yards on the first play from scrimmage. With everyone getting a bit edgy, the Outlaws buckled down and stuff the drive with four consecutive hard hits on the All-Star running backs.

As for me, I am sore today and it was a fun game but it definitely was not one of my best games. December is a rough month to play football in and I still have two games to go. See you guys next week. Video of the game to come later this week.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Last Team Practice

Well, this will be my last practice report for 2007. The season is ending with only games and a year end party left to participate in.

The schedule is as follows for the rest of the season

12/16 Outlaws vs JPFF All-Star Team (Made up of 3 teams)
12/23 JPFF Kansai All-Star Game
12/23 Old-Timers Game at Yokohama (Old Guys vs Young Guns)

Thats about the end of it. Two games in one day on the 23rd. Luckily they are both all-star type games and I shouldnt be too tired as the first game will be 8 minute quarters.

As for this last practice, I am sore and it was a good intense practice even though there were several members of the team who had other commitments. Of course those in attendance were fully committed to performing the tasks at hand and with the 65 degree sunny weather, worked up a good sweat.

Then it was off to Yaki-niku (Korean Barbeque) for lunch and good beer and food for those in attendance. Not a bad way to close out a final practice. Now it is back to training and getting ready for these last few games.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Mid Week Post

It has been a week full of push ups and squats and other exercises designed to get me ready for the up coming games. I really need to get out and run. Especially after this last week's practice. For a change, I was throwing the ball rather than snapping it, and I found that after a dozen or so throws that I could still throw.

But my passes were anything but crisp. The timing was off on several of them and I wanted to bury my head in the sand by the mid point of practice. Although it was fun, if I really expect anything more to come of the quarterbacking skills I have, I really need to get my speed up and throw a lot more. While the steps are there, I really am glad I did not have to perform any hand offs as I probably would have tripped over my own feet.

But on to this week's practice and hopefully another beautiful day to practice on. It was 65 last week, just warm enough to work up a good sweat and nice with no wind so it was not a typical December day.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Team practice

I always loved to play football in the fall as does most other people who play the game. The days are usually cooler and one does not get as hot when practicing. Today was one such day. With a balmy 65-70 degrees and sunny, the practice could have been one of the best there was all season. But unfortunately, many members of the team didnt bother showing up.

But those of us who did show up had a fun session of mostly pass routes, and then machine gun drills which I volunteered to be the runner for all of the drills. This allowed me to get a lot of hitting in a short period of time. Of course the whole practice was like that with us running our sprints back to back. We all worked up quite the sweat and were mostly happy with the practice overall.

One more practice next week and then back to the games in back to back weeks. It will be interesting but we are now counting down to the end of season...(21 days and counting!)

Friday, November 30, 2007

On the scene

Today is a photography day for me. I am shooting two of the playoff games for the JPFF and will be out at Kawasaki stadium all day. But this is not a bad thing. Luckily I will play my last two games of the season there.

We always talk about a football field being lousy or good in the states, but here in Japan, just having one is a god send. Unfortunately, most of the places I have played over the years were no more than a field converted into a football field for the game. Many more times, we have played on Rugby grounds with field goal posts that were too close and that were actually a throw back to playing in the NFL in the 1950's and 1960's and hazardous to the players.

Kawasaki stadium wasa baseball stadium not long ago. They converted it into one of the few, quite possibly the only football stadium in the country. The astroturf is bad and does not allow the feet to slide at all. But it is a ground and it isnt a rugby pitch that is all dirt. The stadium seats about 3-5000 people and has home and away stands. All this told, it is a nice place to play for the guys playing semi-pro and college ball over here.

So I wont complain and I will go shoot the games and await my turn to play on the field. It will come soon enough.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mid Week Post

Another week of training and waiting. Luckily I can distract myself with photographing other teams games. This does provide some relief from the end of season blues. Waiting around three weeks is not my idea of fun but then again, it is coming up on December and this is not the best weather for football but then again, look at this weeks Monday Night Football and I guess its not so bad.

And speaking of the NFL, we should take a moment to reflect this week on the senseless violence which brought about the death of Washington Redskin's safety, Sean Taylor. While he was not the shining example of a good citizen, he was making changes to his life. It is sad that the one so young and talented could be cut down so easily.

This seems to be a common theme these days and as athletes, we should always be mindful of the impression we give those around us with our deeds. Whether we are playing for a school, or a private team, we should leave the violence on the field and try to set the example for others to follow off the field.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

All-star Practice Session

Today was interesting to say the least. What was supposed to be a full practice for those participating in the All star game turned into a real beat down session for me. As in I got beat down. I am not sure what it was but I was not ready in any shape or form for the practice, and it showed.

Luckily, I have several weeks before my next game and hopefully can correct my issues before that. I guess I got too lazy this week and the lack of training time showed. It is back to work tomorrow as I really need to start getting ready for next season. But am I overlooking the remaining items on my schedule? Quite possibly is the only answer I can give for the reason for my poor performance today.

But more bruises and a sore back are the signs that I had a good practice. I only know that in spite of the 60 degree temperatures, I was pouring sweat during the session as were several of my fellow all-stars.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Mid Week Report

It appears that I was a bit hasty in declaring an end to the season. Now, we not only have the all star game this Sunday but we also have another "friendly" on the 16th of December. After talking to the head of the JPFF yesterday (a former coach of mine), it sounded like things were in action to actually make a game happen. By 5pm, the mails were flying and everyone was talking about another game.

Since the bruises on my arms are clearing up slowly but surely, I guess another game is just what the doctor ordered. At least I wont be sitting around during the holidays getting too fat.

Tomorrow is what we Americans call turkey day and now that it is almost over for me, I guess we will be shooting a few more turkeys on the field. As they say, "bring it on!"

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Outlaws win 23-8

Yes folks, we finally won a game. It was not a bad effort ont he part of the 16 guys who showed up to participate in the last regular game of the season. While this leaves us officially at 3-2 and in third place in our block, it would have been nice if we could have put in performances similar to today's in those losses.

But I must admit, it was the best team effort I have seen with good play calling, good blocks with few misses and even better runs. It certainly helped that we had our key players. With only a missed try for point after the first touchdown, the rest came hard earned and at the end of the day, we all were able to feel good about this season.

I have one more all-star game that I will participate in at the end of this coming week and then my season with the Outlaws will be completed. On to King County Jaguars for next season.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mid Week Post

Well, the final game of the season is coming up. I will be gald that the season is finally over. Unfortunately, it has been an abbreviated one with the forfeits that other teams had to make this year. Unfortunately this will not change unless the league makes some efforts to promote themselves among the college students playing the game today. This however seems to be a syndrome faced by all of the leagues here now.

But for now, I am hoping to finish this season on a winning note. If we can do that, then it will have been worth the effort. The real question though is will I be ready to play again next season. (February is fast approaching.)

Friday, November 9, 2007

Mid Week Post

Well, after going no where last week, I am once again getting ready for practice. My index finger is not exactly 100% after a sprain during the 4th quarter. But I will heal and get back at it. Hopefully we can win one of these dog gone games as this losing bit is not working for me.

Only one more game left in the season and then only remaining all-star games and other fun. And then it is another season done. Only the crying and healing left to do.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Refereeing Day

I guess I was supposed to get out of bed and go to referee today but since I was not feeling well, I stayed in. Unfortunately, I dont like missing something like this as it is time to plan and talk about last weeks game a bit during the off time. But I guess that will wait till next week which is our last practice before the last game.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Mid week report

Another game and another loss. Not something I can really take from a pride stand point but I suppose that is why we have to get better as a team.

As for me, I have recovered nicely in spite of playing almost 34 minutes of the game. I know that it is supposed to be a rough game but I didnt quite expect it to be as rough as it was and had a nice head ache to show for it for two days.

Now I am looking at photos and film and trying to figure out what went wrong with our playing this past week. 2.5 weeks to the next game so it is back to hard training time for me.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Definition of a bad day -- 21-0 Loss

Seems like no matter how well our line plays, we are getting beat. And since there is no I in team, I am as much to blame as anyone else out there. But then again, I did my job today the best I could.

Pain comes by the dozen and I dished out a ton of pain. Have the bruises to prove it but of course, it I have bruises, it means someone hit me. Funny how I got drove out of the Nose position by four guys on one play for a 2 yard gain for our opponents, only to come back and stuff those same four guys the very next guy. I got up and yelled, 'Just Bring It!'. That is the first time in 10 years, I have done that. Not that I havent played hard before, but this time, it felt good.

As for Yamanashi Daigaku, hats off to them for bringing the best they had. Unfortunately for our team, it was just too much particularly on passes. Oh well, maybe this bye week will give us time to recover and come back and finally win a game.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Day Before Report

Another game tomorrow according to the schedule. The bag is packed and the uniforms ready. The question is will there be a game. We are having a Typhoon right now which is supposed to blow through about midnight and then be well gone by 8am. But one can only wonder what that will do to the football field.

Of course, being as Kofu is protected by the mountains, there is a good possibility that they wont hardly get any rain over there in spite of the weather report calling for occasional rain.

As for me, I guess I am ready. A bit more of a fire burning in the belly now, having lost the first game and realizing that I have to play even better than I did in the first game.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Mid week report

They say that film never lies. And this week, it didnt lie any more than it did last week or any other week. One can only hope that the way we played on Sunday doesnt reflect the rest of the season.

On Sunday after the game, I gave myself a score of about 6.5 out of 10 based on the fact that I hadnt played in a long time. But after watching the film, I would say that I would be luck if that were a 5.5 out of 10. Of course, I cant see everything in the film but the one thing that struck me as off is the fact that I seem to be awful high in a good number of plays.

Next week is another game and this one wont be as easy from the perspective of actual playing time. It looks like I will be playing both Defense and Offense. But thats ok. The more fun, the better.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Mistakes lead to 14-0 Loss to Lazarus

Two or three break downs in the offense and defence led to no touchdowns scored and a loss to Lazarus. While we were able to move the ball 60 yards down field in one drive in the first quarter, the drive faded at the Lazurus 30 when two sweeps were cut short and resulted in no gain.

The game was not a total loss but unfortunately the score did not favor us, this in spite of dominating for most of the game in a rough ground em, pound em style game.

Yours truly was bowling over guys left and right, but even that did not lead to the result that was desired. Now I am facing the usual post game aches and pains and am heading for the bath.

Maybe next week will go better.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Day before report

No mid week report this week but here is the day before scoop. I am having to adjust my sleeping patterns from night owl to farm boy hours. Woke up at 4:15 am after going to bed at 8pm. I couldnt believe it. But here I am with all the creaks and groans of an old man playing football.

Finally got my new helmet, new padded girdle, and mouth piece ready. Hopefully the helmet wont give me too hard of time being new and all. But it is all stickered up (Have to re-do this bit next week) and the only thing left to do is to put air in it so I dont batter my brains.

The ribs are hurting a bit after the massage yesterday. Not so sure I should have had it but that is the price of age. Now the waiting has begun. A long drive in the morning and then game time!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Practice # 9

Today was a nice cool autumn day here, but that is where the coolness stops. Parking was non-existent so I wound up having to walk. Of course that probably did me some good but now the ham strings are a bit tight. By the 1 hour mark of practice, I was sweating. After demonstrating de-cleaters and down blocking techniques, I was once again snapping balls. After what amounts to approximately 100 snaps, I was sweating pretty profusely.

I found out today that the coach will want me only to do a part time bit on Defense, not the full time one I am used to. I guess he figures we have the personnel, and I should focus on offense. But of course, that makes my job easier which is fine too.

We worked on down and drive blocking quite a bit and I think we have it. Our guards and I work together pretty well and if we can block like we do in practice, we should be unstoppable in the games.

One last hard work week (till Friday) and then it will be game time on Sunday! I am sure this one will go, even though we have a 6am departure time for traveling to play at 10:30am. That means 5 am wake up and 5:40 leaving. Ouch. I better fix my sleep patterns before Wednesday or Thursday.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Practice -- again finally

Today's practice went pretty well. While I was expecting to not be up to par, I found myself actually moving at a pretty decent clip on most plays. The weather changing to fall definitely helps and I was able to get through all of the drills without rolling over and dying of heat exhaustion for a change.

While my ribs still hurt a bit, I am doing better and after a good practice and then another workout pulling the shrine in the city festival today, I am ready for a good massage. (That will hopefully happen tomorrow after I get back from the football gear shop).

Two weeks to go to our next game. This one should go on as scheduled. But we will see. That's it from me for now.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Rolling back into training mode

Well, the Dr. said the ribs aren't broken. Just a bad muscle tear. So it is back to training mode. I guess I will wait a few more days until I quit hurting before I start lifting the heavy stuff but for now it is back to pushups and situps to the point of pain.

I am just glad I can get focused again. Of course, it does help to have two more weeks until the next game so that I can get healthy again.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Cancelled Again!!!

Well, today is turning out to be like the rest of the season. Our 2nd game was also canceled due to a forfeit by the other team. So we changed to a practice at our home ground. Then that was canceled due to heavy rain.

I guess that is a good thing for me as it is giving me some recovery time from my injury. I will find out the extent of the injury tomorrow when I have my MRI. I am not too hopeful at this point but I do have 3 more weeks to recover before our next game. I am hoping that will be enough time, but if not, this will be the first season I have played where I will miss a game due to injury in the middle of the season.

In the mean time, I am re-writing my speed training book to make it more extensive and to give a schedule by week for those looking for an extensive workout.

Monday, September 24, 2007

A New Book Available Now

I have just released my Speed Training Workout book for those of you who are interested in it. It covers the entire workout that I use for getting up to speed for the football season. This book is great for the athlete and the coach and provides a quick 1 page sheet at the end which has all of the set counts, exercises, rests and anything else applicable to the workout.

Get it now by clicking the link under the about box in the right column. You will need Adobe Reader in order to view the file.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Game Day ...errr...cancellation!

Well we are now 1-0. Not exactly the way we wanted to win especially since most of us could have used the full contact of a good game. But it was not to be. So we wound up taking it out on each other with a hard full contact practice.

Unfortunately, my ribs seem to be a point of problems for me this season. I really need to get a bit stronger in the chest. But now it is time to get ready for next weekend's game.

All the way to Kofu in Yamanashi to play a team that is from almost right down the road from us. It makes no sense but that is the way the league staff have decided to play the season. Travel for hours, play a game on dirt and then travel for hours home, when there are tons of nice grass fields and stadiums closer to home.

That's it from me this week. I am going to hit the bath and soak my body for a while.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Mid Week Post

Not much to talk about this week other than the workouts which are making me sore. I know that means they are working but one always wonders when you wake up and your chest feels like it has been through the grinder. But for those of you who want to follow my workout a bit, here is my routine:

Stretch (15 minutes)
Basic Squat x 50 x 3 sets
Wide Squat x 50 x 3 sets
Pushup 25 x 6 sets
Situp 25 x 6 sets
Bicep Curls 10 x 3 sets
Overhead tricep curls 10 x 3 sets
Military Press 10 x 3 sets
Basic Squat with weight 10 x 3 sets
Stretch 15 Minutes

Add this to all the steps you can do in the day. That means, no escalators and if you don't have a choice, then run the escalator or take the steps fast. I run the regular steps 2 at a time head down, full speed in order to get the maximum knee lift in the run. In Tokyo, there are tons of train stations with sets of stairs in the dozens. If I don't go to town then I use the stairs in my building to do the same thing. Unfortunately they are shorter than I like and not straight on.

The core of this workout is my stay at home workout and it can be adjusted if you feel that it is too much. This workout will make you sore. I do it every other day at the start of the season and then increase the number of days as the season goes along. By the time we are into the core of the season, I usually only do this 5 days a week and then Saturdays off and Sundays is games or practices.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Practice # 7 -- Week before first game

Today was definitely not a day for practice once again. This crazy weather here in this country is driving me up the wall. It was 100 degrees and we were still out there.

All in all, I felt pretty good today in spite of some morning stomach issues. The conditioning this week seemed to help a good bit, although I was still spent by the end of practice.

40 scripted plays, plus another several dozen snaps and it all made for a long day. I just don't know where my long snap went today but it was disastrous. I really need to focus more on this one.

But we have the game next week and I am just hoping we get through it in one piece. Some minor defensive adjustments today and of course, the proverbial run until you drop thing with kicking. Unfortunately, all the heat did not help me too much as I only lost 0.5 kg overall, leaving me at 109.5 kg.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Mid Week Post

Well, another week of training and getting ready for the season. Unfortunately, this week brought news that no player wants to hear. Kevin Everett of the NFL's Buffalo Bills had a career ending neck injury on Sunday in the US during their game with the Denver Broncos. While this has happened many times over the years, each person has been different with a different prognosis.

While many of the guys with this type of injury have walked again, many have not. The prognosis on Kevin initially was that he would never walk again, later analysis of his condition is promising. He is now moving his hands and feet voluntarily which is a good sign for him. But spinal cord damage is not something so trivial and he will likely walk but not soon.

He also will never play the game we all love again. This is just tragic for someone so young with their entire career in front of them. Of course, it makes every player think about the game and how we can play it safer. Even my team mates and coach got into the fray of this discussion this week.

Although we know that football is a rough sport, the fundamental problem comes down to a couple of issues. First, is the player ready to play? Have they trained and conditioned their body for the brutality of the game? Second, are they using proper techniques when tackling and blocking? In the case of Kevin Everett, he was using his head and he lowered it into a bad position prior to attempting to make the tackle.

This positioning and failure to maintain proper technique contributed greatly to his injury. As players, we tend to forget some fundamental teachings when we are in the heat of battle, but as coaches, we must remember to teach the players not to use their heads for anything other than a guide. That is the fundamental that, failure to adhere to the idea, most often leads to injuries. We have seen it time and time again but it continues.

For those of you reading this, keep this in mind as you practice and play the sport. At the same time, remember to say a prayer for Kevin Everett and the others like him who have suffered this type of injury. It could happen to anyone of us.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

6th Practice

This week we had another team come in and practice with us. The Titans brought about 25-30 personnel and looked ready for a full game. Of course, only about 20 of our guys showed up. I hope this is not going to be a trend with guys not showing up. If would be nice if just once, everyone was there to run through the plays.

Of course, the primary purpose in the Titans coming was for both teams to get some real situational hitting in. This type of practice really works well due to the personnel issues we seem to be having. Play walk-throughs, blocking schemes and assignments, pass protection and routes.

It was quite a good time but I certainly was not up to snuff. The temperature being 95 degrees still did not help things but I also took a square helmet check in the chest which aggravated my sternum. Unfortunately, that is what put me out in 2000 when I played for the Atsugi Dolphins. I really must be careful with that one.

Thus I was not particularly set for doing the things that I wanted to do but I went ahead and sucked it up and played about 70 percent of the plays. I must get in better shape if I expect to make it through the season. This thing of huffing and puffing like a stuck pig is for the birds. This will be a hard training week as we only have two weeks until our first game.

At the end of this one, I weighed 110 kg (242 lbs). I am finally getting back to my optimal playing weight.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

5th Practice

Today's practice was a bear. I probably snapped the ball 200 times. It was just snap after snap and as I got tired, I started to slip up a bit. When my QB complained, I decided I better take 2 minutes and get my hands and face toweled off so I wasn't getting sweat all over the ball. Then it was right back to the work. Another 20 minutes of snaps.

Of course, these practices aren't getting easier and I am just starting to feel the ball and the pains of being a football player again.

Once we finished out pass route work, it was time to put on the shoulder pads. While it is not as hot as last week today, it is still 85 degrees. The only saving grace is the cloudiness and the breeze that is blowing across the field on days such as this.

Offense went ok for me but I felt like I was just all thumbs. My team mate was getting as tired stopping me on the blocking schemes as I was of running them. I really must get a bit more of a push when I am making the slant blocks. I seem to be lagging and getting nailed by the guy in front of me. It is probably because I am a step slow.

At the end of this one, I weighed 110.5kg. Getting there but still a long ways to go.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

4th Practice

Hot! That is the word of the day. It is 105 degrees today. I stopped and picked up my team mate who was walking from the station. Come to find out, he was coming all the way out to our practices from Toda-city. That sounds a lot like me when I was a young player in the UFL. Travel an hour, practice or play for 4 and then drag oneself home with another hour plus of travel.

Practice was just unbearable. It was go, go,go. I could feel the water just pouring out of me. It seemed that no matter how quickly I replaced the fluids, I was expelling them. The humidity was 90 percent and we were out there in full gear, hitting and running plays.

There was a lot of talk about this but I was glad we were doing it from the perspective of me dropping a bit more weight. But towards the end, I was feeling a bit bad and had to take myself out. I was getting a bit of what the Japanese call Natsu-Bate which basically means that your body feels lethargic in spite of being hydrated. At one point I probably over did the water input.

After about a 15 minute break, I was able to get back out and keep practicing. But this was one for the records as far as the temperature went.

My knee was bothering me again today. I really should be careful with it but I am hoping that all of the snaps every practice and squats on off days will help strengthen it to a point where I can get through the season.

Down to 112kg after todays practice. Going....going...gone....LOL

Sunday, August 19, 2007

3rd Practice

Another practice. Hot. Hot. Hot. Way too hot for anything much less practice. But we have a good group of guys today with almost everyone showing up in spite of the temperature.

Now that we are doing all of the normal warmup drills, I am getting tired even before we start play drills and walk-throughs. But that is a good thing.

I think that my young team mates are worried about me because they keep asking me if I am ok. I know that I have a long blank but I will get back to it. My conditioning has not come along like I thought it would but of course, endurance takes time to build.

I am back at center today doing a ton of snaps again. I am still trying to memorize all the plays and the assignments and yet we are running through everything. Snap count was a problem with me today. I kept jerking the ball. I must get off of the giddiness and start paying attention.

Hopefully the weather will cool off because these hot days are getting old. It has been triple digit weather for two weeks now and no relief or rain in sight. Maybe a rain dance will help matters.

I received the defensive playbook today. While it was familiar to me, I was a bit disappointed and actually wish the team ran a different defense which would use its personnel better.

I am now down to 113kg. I am surprised how fast the weight is coming off. Especially with the weight lifting during the week. But I suppose I just was too dog gone fat when I started.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

2nd Practice

This is the second practice. I have dug out the remainder of my gear and have finally gotten everything ship shape for the season. I could use a new pair of gloves, but that will have to wait.

15 guys showed up today and so we could have a bit more of something that looked like a real practice. It was still not at full speed, but the temperature was once again in the hundreds and the humidity was out of sight. I keep praying for those 70 to 80 degree Seattle like days. But that is about as likely to happen as pigs flying.

I started working as the backup center at the start of practice, but by the time we got through the practice, the first string center was looking to me to take over the position for him. It looks like this will be my position for the season so I better get better at it than I am now.

We had a bit of kicking practice today too. I was going to kick this season but after I kicked my third field goal, I felt my knee pop again. Thats it for kicking. No more for me.

At the end of this one, I signed all the official paperwork and other pertinents that had to be done. I received the offensive playbook from Mr. Iida (the Outlaws coach) and instantly started perusing it to see if there was anything different.

I also lost another 2 pounds today and am definitely feeling lighter. But the knees still don't seem to know that I am losing the weight. Hopefully they will get better with time.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

First Practice!!!

Football season is once again up us. As I head for practice there is the excitement in the air of a first day of school. It has been 6 long years since I played a down and 1 year since I went to a practice.

Since I joined the Tokorozawa Outlaws last year, I figured I better try and get through one season with them. Last year, my TV work just took far too much of my schedule and this season I want to play football.

I got to the practice field which is not much more than just a small field in the corner of Kokukoen (Airplane Museum Park) in Tokorozawa. But I won't complain because we practice every week on nice grass where most teams here in Japan don't even play their games on grass.

Unfortunately, only 8 people showed up for the practice. It is Obon week and many of the guys are off to their home towns for the week. But that is ok as I am a full 116kg (255lbs) and out of shape. It is 105 degrees and just plain humid. But that is good as it makes me sweat.

The whole practice went ok for me but it was light. We only had a little bit of light contact drills, mostly blocking drills as personnel are not available for the full practice drills.

My body feels like it has been through a grinder. I lost 4.5 lbs at practice and feel like a wet rag that has been used too much. My mind keeps asking, Do I really want to do this? But my pride and ego keeps saying yes. What do I do? Play on as they say.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Welcome to Bill Martens Football Blog

This blog is the notes from Bill Martens' time with the Tokorozawa Outlaws football team of the JPFF. After a number of years of not playing, Bill has returned to the league and will be periodically posting his weekly notes from practices and games here. They will include insights from the practices, notes about plays and even the nitty gritty such as weather and weight.

Stay tuned for more!