Part of a high school football coach's duty is to teach his players how to overcome adversity. So before the 2012 season kicked off, Countryside's football squad got a quick exam.
The rains from Tropical Storm Isaac drenched the area the past few days, and forced schools to close Monday. That meant that all football programs got an unexpected and, yes, an unwanted day off as the season opening games loom Friday.
That didn't stop the Cougars from practicing. Well, not in pads and not at school, at least.
From the magic of the Internet, Countryside coach Jared Davis set up a program where players could study gametape of Boca Ciega, the Cougars' opponent Friday.
"They can prepare mentally if they can't prepare physically," Davis said.
The cram session didn't stop there. Some players got together in groups made up of their positions and studied tape together, Davis said.
Davis isn't sweating bullets over the loss of one practice.
"It shouldn't (hurt)," Davis said. "It probably would hurt a younger team but we are a more mature team. It is almost like preparing for a Thursday game instead of a Friday game."
Even when practicing, the recent rains may have helped the Cougars. Football fields locally are soaked, but Countryside's field drains well, Davis said. The game against Boca Ciega is at Gulfport if conditions are sloppy, the Cougars are ready.
That's because Countryside's practice field has been nothing short of a quagmire of late.
"We've been slopping around in water and mud up to our ankles for about a week," Davis said. The recent rains have likely left the practice fields in an even worse condition.
Overall, Davis said the obstacle course Tropical Storm Isaac gave the Cougars is a great teaching tool.
"You worry about what you can control and don't worry about what you cannot control," Davis said. "We can control blocking and tackling and not fumbling."
On the other side of town, coach John Davis is counting his blessings. In the offseason the school added an an artificial turf field.
So what if it rains, Davis said.
"We've been practicing on the turf," Davis said.
In previous years, both the practice fields and stadium field of CCC held the water too well and became a mess too easily. Last year, the field was so soaked, a home game against East Lake had to be moved to East Lake.
This year, the Marauders open the season against East Lake, again, at East Lake, only because that was the original agreement when the two schools decided to play two games.
Without the new turf field, "no way we could have practiced" today, Davis said.