There’s a RedHawk football game Saturday night, but you probably don’t know about.
Miami is off this week, you’re probably thinking and you would be right?in a manner of speaking. Saturday night, the Miami club football team opens its season in Yager Stadium against Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.
The club football team was the brainchild of seniors Andy Bahr and Brandon Wolf; sophomore Nick Powell; and club president Louis Linnemann. The club was formed in 2007 to give guys without Division I talent a chance to play football, bridging the gap between playing on the team and playing flag football on Cook Field.
This is football without all the pressure. The team has three two-hour practices a week at the fields on state Route 73. There are no scheduled weight training sessions, though most of the players lift on their own. The time commitment may be minimal-there are no film sessions, no cumbersome playbooks to memorize-but the desire and competition is top notch.
Most of the players on the team played high school football, but there are some on the team playing for the first time, hungry to devour any and all the information they can.
The coaches are mostly Miami alumni who were eager to help the club team. Some of the coaches served under the late John Pont.
The team holds try-outs twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring.
“So far we haven’t had to cut anyone,” Linnemann said, “but club dues can become a bit of a problem for some students.”
As a Miami organization, Linnemann said, two-thirds of all the expenses are paid by club dues and fundraisers. If the fundraisers fall short of their goal, the dues have to be increased.
In the inaugural season, the RedHawks finished 2-3.
So why should you show up tomorrow night? The first reason is excitement. Last season, the RedHawks played SIU-E twice, with the teams splitting the games. Miami dropped the first game 12-7, but won the re-match 21-12. Both games were within nine points, and you can expect more of the same next time.
In this day and age, the sports fan is among the most cynical demographic in the country. Grown adults launch a chorus of boos at a college quarterback because the kid threw an incomplete pass. It comes as no surprise to us when a university is under investigation for breaking recruiting rules. “If you ain’t cheating you ain’t trying,” has become standard.
We watch our favorite team play and we live and die with every play. We second-guess and third-guess and fourth-guess until watching the game feels more like work than fun. A single game can make or break a week. We get so caught up in the negative that many of us probably haven’t actually sat down and enjoyed a game in a long time.
This is where the club football team comes in. There is no cheating, no lying and no booing.
“We’re just a group of guys who enjoy playing football and do so for the love of the game,” Linnemann said.
And in the end, that’s what sports are supposed to be about and why we love them so much-a group of friends just trying to have fun and trying to win because they love the game.
So head over at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow night to Yager-not because the team has a shot at a national title or a bowl appearance, but to enjoy a football game. And in the end that’s exactly why the team was formed; to enjoy the game of football.