Football coaches also busy off field
With the season set to begin next week, Ohio high school football coaches have been wearing their share of different hats.
There's important behind-the-scenes preparation such as making sure equipment and paperwork are in order.
There's the task many might consider the glamorous aspect of the job -- evaluating talent and managing the roster in hopes of building a winner.
Then there's the one that can get uncomfortable but is essential.
In terms of winning on the field and in helping to transform young people into adults, the importance of learning to deal with the occasional angry parent and a few egos in the locker room cannot be underestimated.
While the coming season can be a means to an end for athletes who aspire to earn college scholarships, a coach's job often involves keeping things in perspective.
On national signing day last February, 34 players from the ThisWeek coverage area signed with major college programs.
Think about that number for a second.
Almost all of the nearly 100 teams in the Central District have more players than that on their respective rosters, meaning those who earn scholarships to either FBS or FCS schools make up a small percentage.
One thing that can overshadow potential disappointments in this area is the rewards that will be realized over the coming weeks.
Only six teams in Ohio will win a state championship, about three-fourths won't make the playoffs and a handful won't win even one game.
But as coaches like DeSales' Ryan Wiggins can attest to, however, there are plenty of positive experiences for players and their families.
The Stallions had, by their high standards, what could be considered an average season last fall. They made the playoffs for the 18th consecutive season but lost in a Division III regional semifinal to finish 7-4.
DeSales then had five players commit to major colleges last February, equaling the number that signed from Division I state runner-up Pickerington Central.
This season, the Stallions have one Division I scholarship athlete in senior J.T. Blubaugh, but he will play lacrosse at Ohio State.
It's possible that none of their players will end up signing to play major college football.
That's a reality Wiggins believes is best to face head-on.
"We want to play for the name on the front of the jersey rather than the one on the back of it," he said. "It's great to have guys go on to college, but high school football is about as good as it gets for most of us. High school football has a uniqueness that's hard to match. Except for about 1 percent, it's about the memories and the camaraderie."
That's a pitch that easily should sell itself to student-athletes as they embark on another season. Hopefully, they take it to heart.
Jarrod Ulrey is a ThisWeek sportswriter. Follow his award-winning blog, "On the Recruiting Trail," for the latest in central Ohio high school recruiting news.