Everybody In !
By John Burbridge
CHARLES CITY — You could prefer football way over baseball, but still a forthcoming gridiron season will bring a tinge of bittersweet.
The start of the baseball season heralds the start of spring, leaving the bleak post-holiday winter months behind.
But the start of the football season means we’re heading into the conclusion of another summer that seems to get shorter as one’s life gets longer.
Perhaps best illustrating the latter transition is the annual pool party held at Lions Club Pool for the incoming Charles City football team.
It comes after the final day of the school’s non-contact football camp and on the Friday before high school practices officially begin on the following Monday.
The latest party occurred last Friday evening (Aug. 5) — the second one of head coach Bryan Bjorklund’s tenure with the team.
“It was a tradition before but then we got away from it,” Comet assistant coach Bob Kloberdanz said. “Then Bryan found out we used to do this and said, ‘Why don’t we start doing this again?’”
Part of the festivities included a pulled pork dinner that there was plenty of in spite of players coming back for two-sandwich seconds.
There appeared to have been a shortage of side dishes as the pan cookies and chips were gone before the coaches got a chance to dig in. But that proved to be a false alarm as when the players’ parents arrived — after a preseason meeting with Coach Bjorklund — they brought with them more than enough sides.
In some ways you can be glad that football is starting again for the Comets. You feel they’re less likely to get hurt … or at least have less time to perform to daredevil antics at the pool.
With the emergence of a newspaper photographer came the need for an impromptu platform diving exhibition.
The degree of difficulty, creativity and extreme nature displayed by the participants was likened to the Death Diving World Championships aired on ESPN8 — there really are such things … the DDWC as well as ESPN8.
If anything, the platform diving exploits indicate that the Comets have … um … a deep “Talent Pool” when it comes to explosive athleticism and in-air agility.
“We had some good numbers at the camp,” Bjorklund said of the daily attendance consistently in the 50s. “And we expect to get even more (when practice starts).”
Bjorklund projected that he has 12 seniors coming back, which is relatively a “small group for a football team.” But among the returning seniors and juniors are a bevy of big athletes including linebackers Kayden Blunt and Ethan and Trevor Peterson.
Bjorklund noted that the Comets haven’t been spending their entire summer at the pool as the school’s new weight room has seen a lot of traffic over the past few months.
Among those who had perfect attendance for the team’s summer weight-training program were senior Nathan Lopez and junior Gabe Rogstad.