Blake Snow

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Things that scared me as a child: Bull in the Ring

I played football for three years from 6th through 8th grade. I was a running back, and I loved hitting people while holding the ball—lower your head and boom! On the other hand, I hated being blindsided. And one drill is the mother of all blind side tackles: Bull in the Ring.

For a pansy example of the drill, watch this video at minute 4:45. Now for the reality as a youngling playing in the deep South. First, just about everyone who plays football hates Bull in the Ring, except those crazy jacked up players that aren’t quite right in the head. As its name implies, one player is encircled by the entire team. In my case, it was around 18 players usually. So 17 vs. 1. Nice odds, eh?

Unlike the above video, my coaches would run outside of the circle and slap a player on the shoulder pad at random to “go git ’em!” If you were the player in the middle of the ring, it didn’t matter if an opponent was coming from behind; it was your job to locate them before getting pummeled. To make matters worse, if a coach suspected your work ethic wasn’t up to par, you can bet he’d purposefully tap two players in close succession, producing disastrous and painful results.

Looking back at the controversial (usually banned) drill, I suppose it did build toughness. But it was also torture. And it scared the crap out of me.