Mother Nature has finally gone too far.
It's one thing to keep air conditioner repairmen busy and lawns brown from the scorching heat.
It's another thing to keep players off the football field on the first day of practice.
Such was the case at Everman late Monday afternoon when the heat index reached 105 degrees and the Bulldogs were forced inside.Coach Dale Keeling had practice scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday as the morning was reserved for passing out equipment.
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When his training staff informed him the heat was too dangerous, Keeling and his staff resorted to holding practice inside at the team's facility and weight room.
"I haven't seen this in 31 years of coaching," Keeling said. "But we are going to be safe and we are going to be smart and when they tell us the heat index is too much we're not going to go."
The Bulldogs plan on changing things for the rest of the week, with practices starting at 8 a.m.
Keeling said there were benefits of working indoors for the Class 4A powerhouse, but he put things into perspective when comparing the Bulldogs' conundrum with that of their Week 1 opponent -- Highland Park.
"They are probably over there in their indoor facility getting at it right now," he said.
DHJ's H2O solutions
Fort Worth Diamond Hill-Jarvis coach Rob Abernathie knew he'd be faced with a challenge in trying to keep his players hydrated and acted accordingly.
"We did more than normal water breaks and we've got some machines set up," he said. "I put three tents up and a water cooler with a big water fan the district gave us with a mister on it. We took a break about every 10 minutes."
Abernathie said he had 33 players show up and the Eagles took the field at 8 a.m. and were off at 12:15 p.m., when the heat index reached 104 degrees.
"We went back in and did some work inside," he said.
Heights' big turnout
Having 130 juniors and seniors show up for the first day of practice at a Class 4A city school is a marvel.
Just goes to show how far the Fort Worth Arlington Heights' football program has come.
"It was enjoyable," Yellow Jackets coach Ged Kates said of his team's first day of conditioning. "We talk all the time around here about enjoying the football experience. If you don't have the attitude that you are going to come out here in this heat and getting up early and all that stuff, it can beat you down pretty quick."
A 10-1 record from last season will do wonders for a team and Kates credits the work ethic of his players and coaches, evident by the effort they showed even while practicing in the 100-plus degree heat.
"I think we got a day better today," Kates said. "We've got a real good, solid foundation in place and they handled it real well."
Football practice at Fort Worth Southwest started at 8 a.m. Monday, but it didn't look like the first day of anything.
The players didn't hesitate as they hustled from drill to drill and station to station.
It might be due to the Raiders bringing back so many familiar faces from a squad that went 8-4 in 2010 and won the school's first-ever playoff game. The offense returns seven starters and the defense eight.
One of those returning starters is junior quarterback Wesley Harris, the District 6-4A offensive MVP in 2010.
Southwest's practice consisted of high-tempo individual drills, along with passing and running drills.
"I think our program is progressing to the point that we are really flattered to be mentioned as a district contender," Raiders coach Lanny Trammell said.
Southwest is picked to win 6-4A in Dave Campbell's 2011 Texas Football magazine and in The Old Coach Friday Night Football Texas magazine.
Early August works
Many area Class 5A teams conducted spring drills in May. Not Grapevine.
"For us, [spring practice] almost became counterproductive. But we felt like we were better off taking an extra week in the fall," Grapevine coach Dave Henigan said.
"I prefer spring ball -- it's 85 instead of 95 or 100 -- and if you have bad luck and have an injury you have months as opposed to weeks."
Because of standardized tests and several players also playing on the baseball team, Henigan said his roster was too depleted to have effective practices in the spring, when players can wear pads, unlike fall practice.