An instinct for the game

By Brandon Evans | Published Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“Football combines two of the worst things in American life. It is violence punctuated by committee meetings.” – George Will

Preparation is everything.

The high school game of football is only 48 minutes long, but the preparation is perpetual.

It begins in the high heat of summer as a rising sun breaks up the day. It ends after shadows grow long and the purple velvet blanket of night swallows the day.

All the practice in the world doesn’t prepare one for the speed of the moment when the lights are on and the fans teeter on their seats wanting nothing less than a triumph. At that point an unseen skill is required, an instinct for the game is needed. All the training in the world can’t give that to you.

Our roaming photographer captured this image of preseason at the Decatur Eagle practice field.

Several players and a coach stand out in sharp focus. Others move in a blur. The uprights rise like a religious symbol scripted into the reddening sky at dawn.

He searched for a photo that could symbolize two-a-days anywhere. Like the young athletes before him, the proper preparation allowed him to take the shot. But it was instinct that allowed him to find it.

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