Beyond the Playbook: Duluth East football players march to their own beats
Last Friday Duluth East and Hermantown faced off on the gridiron for an intense matchup. When halftime hit, most of the Duluth East Greyhounds gathered to talk about their game plan for the second half – except for a small pack.
“You know what, there’s just something so special about mad dogging it across the field during homecoming and, you know, I just got to say there aint nothing like it,” said Fletcher Nelson, a senior offensive lineman for the Greyhounds.
A handful of Duluth East football players swapped out their mouth guards for mouth pieces, and in a sea of shoes and uniforms, it’s the cleats and pads that stick out the most.
Thought it may not look like it on the surface, playing a musical instrument can be extremely taxing.
“Football’s probably harder physically, but band can definitely burn you mentally, too,” said Seth Werner, another senior Greyhound lineman. “You just get tired. You’re thinking of so many things at once. You can only only keep up for so long before it wears you down. You get tired and say, ‘I’ll pick it up tomorrow or I’ll do it later.'”
“Football is…I never thought of it as being hard,” said Nelson. “You always just come out and give it your best and the coaches always understand that you know, sometimes you mess up or you have a bad day, but in the end there’s not really a true set deadline beyond, you know, there’s the game Friday. Band, you actually got a grade. You have that deadline, you have to get memorized…this part of the piece by October 1st.”
In addition, Nelson talked about his view of the traditional high school experience.
“I alway wanted to play both sides of it, you know. I want to be the guy in the school band and the guy on the field. I want to be the guy making the tackle and the guy cheering them on.”
When halftime is over, the Greyhounds put their helmets back on, and they’re ready to go. But no matter how many hits they take or what the score is, there’s still band practice next week.