The start of the regular high school football season begins this Friday night. I have my final scrimmage to officiate at the Jr High level at St. Henry tomorrow, then begin with a Freshman game at Celina on Saturday morning, versus Lima Senior.
The old axiom is the older you get, the faster time flies. The beginning of this year's football season is proof that is the case. Back in the late summer of 1990, some 17 years after I had first began coaching little league baseball, the Celina Recreation Department boss, the late Jim Hoess, approached me about coaching Soccer. Soccer at that time was the up and coming sport...I knew nothing about it, but I agreed to help, if I could put the older son, Sam, and the younger, Hal, on the same team. Hal was a grade too young to play at this level, but he was bigger than most kids his age, so Jim agreed, and I had my first Soccer coaching assignment, The Bobcats.
The Bobcats as it turned out, were not a very good team, or at least I wasn't a very good coach. We had some good young athletes, and played some close games, tying 4 and finally breaking through in the tournament with a couple of wins, and finishing 3rd in the 8 team league. Over the next 5 years or so my teams got better, and we as coaches and teams traveled and won more than our share of tournament golds. That first year was special, despite our losing ways. The kids never gave up...Sam went on to play soccer for about 6 years, Hal for another 4, before he choose football, wrestling, and baseball. Sam played football for a year, then baseball in for 3 years in High School, Hal competed for a couple of years in football and did all 4 years in baseball....never stars, but they enjoyed the games....soccer however, a sport I knew nothing about, is where they began.
One of the kids on this team, and a couple of my baseball squads, was named Jared Rolfes...Jared was a pretty good player, his dad coached with me in soccer and baseball down the road. Jared ended up as a football player with Celina back in the late 90s and early 2000s, finishing as a wide receiver and had a good playing career. Last fall Celina's coach, Jerry Harris, after 3 years on his second stint at Celina, retired for good, and the Bulldogs were in need of a new head coach. One of those to apply was a young 24 year old with 1 year experience as an assistant coach at an Aurora, Illinois, high school....that young guy was Jared Rolfes.
It turns out after numerous interviews, Jared was chosen as the new head coach. Seems hard to believe, at 24(now 25), this young man who I coached 15 to 17 years ago, was chosen to lead the Celina program...as they say, it seems like only yesterday.
1990 to us older folks does seem like just a short time ago, I'm sure to those my sons and Jared's ages, it seems like a very long time ago indeed. I wish him luck, he will need that and patience. The Bulldog teams which were a power house in the late 60s, early 80s, and again in the mid 1990s, have fallen on hard times. Hopefully the powers in charge will give this young man the time he needs to turn the program back around. Division 2 in Ohio is the second largest division, and comprised mostly of teams from large cities or mid sized towns with one high school, like Celina. It's big time football, in a football crazy state and region, it will be interesting to see how the Bulldogs respond to a coach, not much older than they are.
photos-The Bobcat's 1990 at the top, Me(left) and Stan Laux the coaches, Sam is 2nd from left on the top row of players, Jarod Rolfes, Celina's new varsity football coach is in the first(floor) row, 2nd from left, Hal is next to him, in the middle of row #1/ and a crop photo of Jared Rolfes, Head Coach Celina Bulldogs.