Dear Dad and Mom;

Well, high school football camp is going well, but it's hotter than heck. I sweat so much I need rain gutters. My helmet feels like a Dutch oven.

The coaches say it builds carrickter, whatever that is.

We've been here three days, but, don't worry, I haven't run out of clothes yet because I wear the same thing every day! My T-shirt smells kinda funny, though. Last night I threw it across the room and it stuck to the wall.

I might have to take a shower before I get home.

Our dorm is pretty crowded. There are three other kids in my room. It smells like Uncle Morty's gym shoes when he leaves them by the door. Coach says it makes his eyes water.

Teams from other schools are here. Lots of high school football teams go to camps each summer all over the state. Coach says it builds team unity and brings us closer together. Guess that's why the dorms are so crowded.

Coach says it also builds carrickter.

The seniors have been real nice. When they made me sleep in the closet last night, they threw a pillow in there and pushed M&Ms under the door. I didn't get much sleep, but that's OK.

They said it builds carrickter.

I'm not getting much playing time. We had our first scrimmage and I didn't get in. Maybe you could make another donation to the booster club, Dad.

Coach said we're going to do gassers tomorrow. My roommates do those constantly in the dorm, so maybe they won't have to do them again.

We're also going to do a lot of running.

Thanks for the $200 for camp. And the $45 for the seven-on-seven tournaments this summer. And the $400 for the speed camp. And the $80 for my cleats. And the $400 for my jerseys and equipment. And the $20 for the 18 wristbands I wear on my wrists, calves, biceps and forearms.

I guess that's what Coach means when he says we have to pay the price to be good football players.

I'm a little worried. The coaches keep talking about executing the offense — and I play on offense. It sounds like they're going to put us in front of a firing squad. Or maybe we'll have to do up-downs.

I vote for the firing squad.

We do up-downs if we're late, up-downs if we talk when Coach is talking, up-downs when we fumble, up-downs when we drop a pass, up-downs if we cuss. We do up-downs till we up-chuck.

They said it builds carrickter. If that's true, I've got lots of carrickter. I've got carrickter coming out my ears.

The coaches are always talking to us about having focus. I think they're worried that the team picture will be fuzzy.

By the third day a lot of kids started walking funny. It's like they're suddenly bowlegged. Coach said it's jokitch.

He gave us a lecture on hi-jean, even though we wear our jeans way low. Coach said we stink and need to shower, but we're just going to get sweaty again, so what's the point?

Coach says we will all experience personal growth while we're here, but I think he's talking mostly about the coaching staff. They've already experienced a personal growth of about 10 pounds. They eat pizza and red licorice and Big Macs all the time. Their wives call this their "man vacation" — a week of nothing but football and food.

The coaches took away our cell phones. I think I'm going through withdrawal. My hands are shaking. I haven't sent a text message in days. I actually have to talk to someone instead. First no X-Box, now this! Isn't this some type of child abuse?

Speaking of boring, in the afternoon we have these long meetings. Coach tells us to sit up and listen. He diagrams plays on a chalkboard with X's and O's and finishes every sentence with "all right?" It's like being in summer school.

We eat in a big cafeteria with the other teams that are here. We eat enough in one meal to feed Tanzania. And that's just the linemen. We're getting bigger, stronger and faster.

We're also getting carrickter.


E-mail: [email protected]