The Stanford football team will christen the 2020 season with its first game against Oregon next week. A tough opponent under any circumstances, the coronavirus pandemic has raised questions about the Cardinal’s ability to prepare for the inaugural match-up.
“We have had to adapt our training and practice regimes because of the pandemic,” confirmed head coach David Shaw. “But I view this as an opportunity to be creative. Together with the assistant coaches and support staff, we’ve put together a truly unique way of practicing football.”
To give me a taste of his new methodology, Shaw invited me to a special practice session for the team’s receivers. Rather than a practice field, he led me into a dimly lit room in the basement of the football stadium. There, half a dozen players stood in a circle, each holding a plastic cup. An assistant coach standing nearby would blow his whistle at regular intervals, with all the players sneezing into their cups on cue then passing each cup to the right.
Shaw was beaming as he explained that this was part of his brilliant new strategy of teaching his players “how to catch things.”
“I have to admit,” he explained back in his office. “We struggled with the whole ‘catching’ thing last season. That’s why I decided to reuse the same play of just running the ball up the middle: there’s less catching involved. Much simpler. As part of these new training regimes, my players have become experts at catching things — regardless of what that thing may be!”
A recent Daily article confirms that, out of 45 reported coronavirus cases on campus, a disproportionate 13 are football players — numbers that put the Cardinal on par with small nations such as Montserrat. Shaw was pleased to hear this.
“We’re punching way above our weight when it comes to catching things,” he remarked.
When asked if he was concerned that the skills involved with catching a disease don’t translate to catching a football, Shaw demurred.
“We’re using a multi-discipline approach to teaching catching skills,” he explained. “Everything from catching a disease to catching feelings to catching fish. We will leave no stone uncaught.”
Bold as his strategy may seem, Shaw was confident enough to stake his reputation on it. The results will have to speak for themselves next weekend.
Editor’s Note: This article is purely satirical and fictitious. All attributions in this article are not genuine, and this story should be read in the context of pure entertainment only.
Contact Benjamin Midler at bmidler ‘at’ stanford.edu.