|Early, early that next morning.|
They say Bear Bryant called his one and nine A&M Team of 1954 his favorite. I never heard him say it but Jim Dent writes as much in his book, The Junction Boys. There could be some controversy here. It could be that some people of Junction, Texas would not be proud of what happened outside their town that summer, but I am almost certain you'll find people in this world who say it changed their life for good.
Perspective maybe. Bear once said the camp he conducted on that campus was his one regret. It was the only losing season he saw in thirty-eight years and the last college he coached before he went home to the University of Alabama. He was forty years old and taking on a team of about a hundred young men who he felt had not been properly led or coached.
I would say he went there to toughen those boys up because if you are playing college football your goal is to win and if you're playing college football you can't win without being tough. Or so they say. I never played.
The area was facing their fourth year of drought but that particular year had a twist of heat wave. Camp would typically start before dawn and often last late into the night. Rather than water in cups or bottles or any normal form of how we drink, each side of the ball was given a single water soaked rag to share amongst themselves.
Not all those young men made it that week. Depending on who you talk to seventy to seventy-five percent of those bused into that town did not leave with their team once Coach Bryant said it was done. There were men who never played football again. The ones who got me were the ones who said it was just a privilege to be coached by him.
I'd recommend this one in hardback.
You know, the kind you like to take off the shelf every once in a while.
Today I am grateful for those among us who strive for something so great that if they had not done it we never would've known it could have been.