“If you build it, he will come,” is one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite movies. At the time the voice in
Field of Dreams
made the statement, nobody knew who he was. If you still don’t know, rent or buy the movie.
At Ramona High School the voice says, “If you feed them, they will stay and play,” which is what Coach Damon Baldwin and his staff did during camp (two-a-days, Hell Week). The word camp is appropriate because Coach Baldwin and his staff used a portion of the money raised in the Lift-a-Thon to provide snacks for the football team during camp.
During two-a-days the varsity and junior varsity players get to school at 1 p.m. to dress. There is usually a meeting or weightlifting at 1:45. The players hit the field for a short (2:25 to 4:30) practice. They stay on campus and rest and eat from 4:30 to 5:45. They then have a meeting and are back on the field at 6:20.
The players are encouraged to drink (hydrate, hydrate, hydrate) and eat. Most bring a bag lunch. Some don’t or can’t, so the football staff provides a peanut butter and jelly bar. When the idea first popped up, many laughed. “These are big football players. They are too old for PBJs.”
WRONG! One is never too old for a PBJ. The first year the coaches took turns buying bread, peanut butter and jelly on a daily basis. However, as the PBJ Bar evolved, a funny thing happened.
“Parents and boosters and community members started bringing in bread,” said Baldwin. “The supermarkets would give us day-old bread. Parents would go to discount outlets and buy peanut butter and jelly in bulk. Parents brought in watermelons.”
To say that the players ate it up would be more than a pun. Every player has his own style when it comes to building a PBJ. And build is a proper word, because the players put on massive amounts of peanut butter and jelly into their recipes. Some make double deckers. Some make triple deckers. Some put the peanut butter on one piece of bread and jelly on the other piece. Some just slop it on.
Until this year ants were a problem. Rheynard Morgan, Ryan Morgan’s father, came up with an invention to take ants off the sandwich board. He put cups of water under the legs of the table. Rheynard knew that ants can’t swim. Now the entire program knows that ants can’t swim.
Even those who brought a brown bag (I did not see any metal lunch boxes like the ones I took to school) couldn’t resist a PBJ or two.
Several passes were dropped at practices, but not one jar of peanut butter or jelly or piece of bread hit the deck. The staff toyed with the idea of putting peanut butter and jelly on the balls on passing plays, but the players would not let the staff waste their epicurean delights. Even the biggest coaches knew better than to mess with a player’s PBJ.
“This community never ceases to amaze me,” said Baldwin. “Nobody was asked. We had enough money to cover the sandwich bar. Debbie Meyers (varsity team mom) got the ball rolling and everybody got on board.
“Most of those who donated either did not have players in the program or their kids didn’t frequent the PBJ bar as often as the regulars. The community heard that players liked PBJs and donated.
“Skippy peanut butter, creamy peanut butter, chunky peanut butter, too.”