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I SWORE I WOULD QUIT FOOTBALL
Ron Mix
September 16, 1963
That was the vow Ron Mix took in high school, but he broke it and went on to become the best offensive lineman in the AFL. He is also the best writer in professional football—a curious accolade, perhaps, but one he earns with this revealing training camp diary
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September 16, 1963

I Swore I Would Quit Football

That was the vow Ron Mix took in high school, but he broke it and went on to become the best offensive lineman in the AFL. He is also the best writer in professional football—a curious accolade, perhaps, but one he earns with this revealing training camp diary

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"Time!" he said, throwing his hands up. "Sure we got time, but it's too hot. Look, if you're lucky enough to fall asleep in the afternoon, you wake up in a pool of sweat. And at night it's no better. It's still hot, and the insects come out to play and—well, hell, you've seen how it was today. Wait until you're tired from practice, too, then you'll see what I mean."

I can hardly wait.

JULY 18

Everything is set for the beginning of practice tomorrow. Uniforms have been issued, physical and dental examinations have been taken, and Sid held a squad meeting.

"Gentlemen," he said, "a camp is not a country club. We are going to have fun, but when we work, we work. We must get in top physical condition for the 19 games. In addition to our normal workouts, we are going to begin a concentrated program of weight training and isometrics. One of the outstanding men in the field, Alvin Roy, will be in camp in a couple of days to begin instruction.

"If you have an appointment, keep it. It'll cost you one dollar a minute if you are late. And if we have reason to believe that you were late intentionally, the fine goes up to $10 a minute. Any excuses better be good ones. Now, if you really want to test us be late for curfew. Curfew is at 10:30. We put in a hard day and feel we need the rest. The fines for being late will be doubled for each repeated infraction. And last among our moneymaking procedures is the notebooks. These notebooks contain everything in our system. They are our lifeblood. It'll cost you $200 if you lose a notebook.

"One thing I must caution you on is gambling. There are very few of us who can gamble for high stakes. When we lose a lot it affects the team morale. Penny ante is all right. And when I say pennies, I mean pennies."

The meeting ended.

"Well," said Paul Lowe as we walked down the hill toward our rooms, "here we are again. How about some poker? Penny ante, of course."

In a few minutes seven of us were in Paul's room, sitting in chairs around the bed, betting pennies just as Sid said we must. Paul, Don Norton, Dave Kocourek, Ernie Ladd, Charlie McNeil, Ernie Wright and myself placed our dollar bills in the pot. Someone said: "I bet 100 pennies." Someone else: "I call, and jack you 200 pennies."

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