Back in the day, we did our summer conditioning at 6:30 AM. We chose 6:30 AM for three reasons. First, what the heck else were teenage boys doing at 6:30 AM? A few worked, but we were always understanding and appreciative of that. Second reason, it was when I could do it, be at work at a decent hour, and not get fired from my real job. Third reason, it was cool(er) than the oven of a Kansas afternoon/evening summer day.
Sure, it was early, but we worked hard and we worked fast. We wanted to make the dedicated effort of the boys to be there that early worth the effort of being there, so most of the time, I drove them like dogs. I think we made it well worth their while over the years. We worked hard, but we tried to make it fun. We blasted music, I dished out crap right and left, as necessary. We laughed, we cussed at each other and we grew as people. I guess you would call it an intense, chaotic, comical, teenage boy atmosphere where everyone would go home, to convenience store, or to the doughnut shop, worn out and dragging.
One group of kids I always carried a tremendous amount of respect for over the years were the country kids from the outskirts of the county. Most of these were farm kids who made great sacrifices to drive 10-30 miles to get to town for workouts. But, no matter how much respect I had for their and their family’s sacrifices, I could not, and did not, treat them any differently. They were expected to be there on time, ready to roll, just like everyone else was.
Which brings to mind Green Standard Time. There was a small contingent of kids who farmed north of the rural town of Green, Kansas. They would meet up every morning and carpool the 20+ miles to the high school. They were always 10 minutes late and they would always blame it on the senior-to-be of the group, who happened to be our star running back. Every morning, we would start dynamic warm-ups at precisely 6:30 AM and sure enough, the Green crew would roll in about ten minutes late, the younger kid or two always behind the senior pointing at him and pleading at me with their wide, innocent eyes for mercy. Every day, I would rant for a minute then tell them to join the warm-up and get to work.
Eventually this ritual repeated itself so often, I knew it was time to honor it with a name. One particular morning rant, I went off about how the other 45 young men, some of who lived WAY out in the sticks, found their way to be on time every day. I continued to rant about how Green must be on a different time zone or something. Ding! There it was, the name. So from that day forward, from 2002 to 2012, these boys-turned-men live on Green Standard Time (GST).
Despite their tendency for tardiness, the men of the GST have turned into fine men, husbands, farmers, teachers, coaches and even fathers-to-be. And that, my friends, is what it’s all about.