It's that time of year again when I prepare myself for a couple of phenomenons that are as seasonal as federal grants being handed out just before an election.

One is rather dangerous and the other one is just entertaining in a strange sort of way.

With the opening of football season comes those coach call-in shows. That's where the college football coach opens himself up to the public phone lines and discusses the fine points of gridiron competition with a wide assortment of armchair quarterbacks.

The coach doesn't actually answer the phone himself because not all coaches have a presence about them to conduct such impromptu seances. So the voice of the team -- quite often an elevated disc jockey, probably named Sparkie -- is the liaison.

"Okay coach, we've got Leon from Sopchoppy on the line."

You can hear the coach clearing his voice.

"Yeah Leon, what's on your mind today son? Hello. Hello. Are you there, Leon? Hellooooo."

Click, click, click.

Leon, obviously surprised that he got through, has a bit of stage fright.

"Uh ... yeah .... I'm here coach. How ya doing?"

"I'm fine Leon. What's on your mind."

"Well coach, I just want you to know that you're doing a really great job with the Roosters."

The coach needed to hear this because he really wasn't sure, having won only eight of his last 9 games and pulling down three million bucks a year, plus endorsements.

"Yeah coach, I know we've got some really good running backs out there, and they're scoring a lot of points, but why haven't we seen BubbaGene getting the ball any?"

"Well Leon, BubbaGene isn't exactly on the team right now," the coach says.

"What? Where is he?"

The coach is a little uneasy on this one.

"Well Leon, BubbaGene tested positive for anabolic steroids and that's against the rules."

Leon is sputtering with great disappointment.

"But coach, he had such promise. BubbaGene and I were in second grade together. He loaned me his safety razor that year ... So when will he get all this stuff out of his system?"

The coach coughs.

"I'm not really sure Leon, but taking those drugs wasn't exactly his only problem, you see."

Leon's perturbedness has now peaked.

"What do you mean that wasn't all of it?"

The coach would really like to switch to a commercial right now but it would be way too obvious.

"Well Leon, you see it wasn't just that BubbaGene took anabolic steroids as much as it was that he couldn't spell anabolic steroids."

Crushed that his grammar school friend was not going to play on Saturday, Leon hangs up.

The next caller comes on the line and now comes that dangerous thing I was talking about.

Sparkie, trying to uplift the moment says, "Coach we've got Howie from Luverne on the line."

The coach says, "Hello Howie. How's it going down in Luverne?"

"Oh it's going great coach. I've had a great week. Killed one heck of a deer this morning. Big as a horse!

"And coach if you know anyone who needs a saddle, I've got one they can have. Liked to have never got it off that deer. Darndest thing I've ever seen."

Dwain Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer, 229-985-4545 ext. 214. E-mail:

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