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It is always 65 degrees for Karazsia, but he knows the dangers of the heatPosted Monday, August 9, 2010, at 5:07 PM
The first week in August means two things in Indiana -- the start of the high school fall sports season and hot weather.
Football practice and 90 degree days go together like peanut butter and jelly, but the result of that merger is not as satisfying. The first week of practice featured four days in the 90s, including one day when the air temperature neared triple digits. The heat index was at or above 110 most days.
After a brief reprieve from the heat Friday and Saturday, weather forecasters are predicting much of the same for this week with the mercury expected to rise into the high 90s. Every day this week the temps are predicted to be between 90 and 98.
But if you ask former Linton-Stockton football coach Charlie Karazsia -- the current athletic director for the Miners -- what the temperature is, he always has the same answer.
"It is a constant 65 degrees," said Karazsia. "If you think cool, you will be cool. If you think hot, you will be hot.
"You can't change it so why dwell on it?
Karazsia, who had an 84-36 record in his 12 seasons (1980-1991) at Linton-Stockton, said it was a faulty thermometer that started the tradition of 65 degrees.
"Kids would be complaining how hot it was during two-a-days," said Karazsia. "I happened to find this old round thermometer that was broke. It was stuck on 65 degrees.
"I brought it out and set it down on the field. From that point on, the temperature was always 65 degrees."
In years gone by, water breaks were seen as a sign of weakness.
In the movie "Remember the Titans," Denzel Washington, who was playing the role of T.C. Williams (Va.) High School coach Herman Boone, said, "Water is for cowards. Water makes you weak. Water is for washing blood off that uniform and you don't get no blood on my uniform, boy you must be outside your mind! We are going to do up-downs, until Blue is no longer tired, and thirsty."
Karazsia said there were no water breaks during his playing days at Indiana State University in the 60s.
"Things have changed a lot since those days," said Karazsia. "That's just the way it was back then."
It has been nine years since 27-year old Korey Stringer, a 6-5, 335-pound offensive tackle, collapsed and died of heat stroke on the second day of the Minnesota Vikings' training camp. The heat index that day was near 110, much like area prep athletes dealt with last week.
Football teams, on all levels, are taking the dangers of heat much more seriously these days.
"The IHSAA (Indiana High School Athletic Association) has issued a heat index information chart that we have spoken with all of our coaches about," said Karazsia. "It is good that there are rules and procedures in place to deal with the heat."
Karazsia said that water is available to athletes when they need it and football players can take their helmets off, if needed.
"If a player gets queasy, they can stay out of a drill," he said. "Our coaches are very aware of any potential problems.
"The players are encourage to replenish fluids."
Former Miner player Mark Gennicks, who now serves as an assistant coach for Linton-Stockton, said that players now are expected to drink water, "whether they are thirsty or not."
Karazsia added that the players are weighed before and after practice.
"If a kid loses too much weight, they are kept out of practice," he said.
Karazsia said that the kids should be commended for their effort during these trying times of preseason workouts.
"It is not very pleasing out there for the kids and our coaches," he said. "The main thing is that we want to keep everybody safe."
B.J. Hargis is sports editor of the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at (812) 847-4487, ext. 12 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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