Looks like we have a decent group to work with. I started practice off (which I closed to both the parents and the media, if any had shown up) with a speech to the players about dedication, commitment, and the proper "balance" between athletics and academics. I asked for all students who had ever made the honor roll raise their hands, and when two of the twenty-five players did, I asked them if they thought anyone would care about that in 20 years? “No” is the correct answer, because no one remembers numbers written on a piece of paper. A championship ring, on the other hand (and at this point I pointed to my HS football region championship (3-way tie) ring for effect) is timeless. I told them that school must take a backseat to this team and that one bad semester isn't the end of the world anyway. Most of the kids were nodding in agreement, so I think they got the point.
The practice itself was lively and intense. My DC focused pretty much all of his efforts on making the piccolo player quit. The kid ended up being every bit as bad as we suspected and looked like a senior citizen with a chronic hip problem during the back pedal drills. My DC punished his ineptitude by making the kid backpedal around the perimeter of the field while pretending to play the piccolo. The kid cried pretty much the whole practice, so we may have seen the last of him.
The only downside was that only a handful of the new players showed up with the “high and tight” haircut I had instructed their parents to get them. I will take matters into my own hands at the next practice, as I plan to bring in a couple of stylists from the Sport Clips I frequent to take care of this problem.