Today I am very happy and impressed to report that those “other combines” that my article title is searching for, are in fact, very real and out there. But before I dive into things let me set the backdrop.
Yesterday evening I was enjoying a wonderful BBQ chicken sandwich and freshly poured IPA at a local Seattle brew pub (The emerald city has many, and I encourage everyone to come visit, we’ll make the rounds) when I looked up to see the below commercial finishing up and the screen cut to groups of grown men in alarmingly tight, very skimpy clothing, flying around the field of an empty stadium and realized we were in the middle of the annual NFL combine.
I made a few encouraging comments about the combine to my girlfriend, who was so graciously joining me for the meal, and nearly had to ask our waiter to be seated at a completely different table when she responded that she had no idea what I was talking about. I’ll leave the judgement of whether or not this is should be considered a heinous crime up to you, but you’ll be happy to know that I stuck it out and explained the combine and what it accomplishes, or tries to accomplish in the world of football.
After that conversation the idea that someone would be completely unaware of the combine stuck with me and took my down a path of philosophical reasoning about how people are aware or unaware of certain subject or happens, what makes a subject common knowledge etc. etc.. I will spare you the details of that journey and lead you to my last thoughts of “Why aren’t there combines for younger football players, and why shouldn’t they be just as big of a deal as the NFL combine?” I mean wouldn’t college coaches love to get in on that action?
I am here to report that after a little research and much to my joy, that there are indeed football combines for groups of ages. Check out the below video for a sneak peek of the high school age group (I’ll also remark that the song choice for the first video is top notch.)
The below is the combine for the younger age group ( a bit lengthy)
While these combines do not get nearly the limelight nor have as high a relevancy as the NFL combine (this likely relates to a numbers game, too many players to analyze, not enough time/money in youth sports-a subject I’ll cover in a future blog post) I really must give a huge shout out to Under Armour and other groups and organizations that help to put these things on. While it is not as great a spectacle nor as defining for the young athletes’ careers, I am of the opinion that giving youth any opportunity to compete and showcase their hard work and abilities is a wonderful thing. The more opportunities youth have for involvement and exposure to sports the better.
There is, however, another side to this. Some might argue that these types of things, introduced too early, breed unhealthy exercise habits and health concerns. Also, that maybe these things start youth down a path of too much obsession and focus on athletics, which could be better spent elsewhere.
So, I’ll call on you readers: What are your thoughts on all this, the combine, the youth combines, startin’ ’em early? Let’s hear it