As a first-year head coach with a resume that's as long as it is decorated, North Callaway's Don Boulware has more advantages than the average individual in the same position.
Because of that some might call him cagey or wiley and others might even refer to him as a good ole' boy because of the relaxed and smooth way he handles himself. Being in his 60's doesn't hurt that stereotype, either. The only problem with that is, if you spend too much time putting labels on the man he's going to spend his time putting touchdowns on you, so good luck with that.
While coach Boulware and his staff have been working hard all summer to install the new offense and defense and so far, so good, after all that hard work last Friday they took the entire North Callaway high school football program to the Missouri Military Academy for team bonding. This meant transporting the entire junior varsity and varsity for an entire day of nothing but activities designed to be fun and good times and it started with the linemen learning how to repel down the repelling tower.
"Team bonding is anything that gets these guys together away from football where they are spending time in a more relaxed atmosphere where coaches aren't barking at them getting to know each other, trust each other, like each other and build chemistry" said Boulware. "Coach Ron Kimbley suggested this. We've been coming to MMA over the summer for seven-on-sevens. We've come over here three different times. We also went over with MMA to Fulton once and we had Fulton to our place once."
While the linemen were at the repelling tower to start the day, freshmen through seniors, the rest of the team was on another part of the Fighting Colonels campus navigating an obstacle course. The plan from there was for the two groups to eventually switch stations followed by lunch and games of five on five touch football on the varsity field.
"We came over here and saw the place. The MMA head coach is also a North Callaaway graduate, Mitchell Jenkins, and he suggested this to (T-Birds assistant) Ronny (Kimbley), who agreed it would be a good idea to come here," Boulware said. "We were thinking about going on a float trip or camping, but when the opportunity came up for something we could do in one day and we didn't have to travel too far, this seemed to fit the bill."
The Thunderbird's had planned to then go swimming, but because MMA is planning to return boys varsity swimming to its fall sports lineup, its pool is currently being painted. Because of that Boulware chose to take advantage of the academy's movie theater and have the boys watch the film, Remember the Titans, starring Denzel Washington.
"It's about team bonding. The blacks and the whites coming together. Not that we have a lot of blacks and whites. We have a few different races, but it's the same type of thing," said Boulware. "We have kids from three communities. Some of the ninth graders have played together, but they haven't gone to school together. Some have been in Hatton, some in Williamsburg and some in Auxvasse. Even our high school kids tend to hang with their own group of friends."
One reality when it comes to Boulware there's no hiding is that he hasn't coached in 18 years. Because of that the fact he relies on the absolute fundamentals of the game from top to bottom should surprise no one.
"With football you have a large group, so anything you can do to improve the chemistry and get the kids to know each other. Until they really know each other, it's hard to trust each other," Boulware said. "I'm having a blast. My brother lives here. My father lives up the road in Fulton. I've got bunches of friends and classmates and teammates and the people at the school are great, so I'm having a blast."