Diary Records Coach's Emotional Highs, Lows: Bill Seward recently completed his third season as head football coach at Playa del Rey's St. Bernard High School, where he won his first league title.
At the request of The Times, Seward tape recorded a diary of the past season. In this second of two parts, Seward talks about the emotional highs and lows in coaching a high school team to the conference quarterfinals.
Saturday, Oct. 20--I'm headed to get a film at school. Great way to spend a Saturday night. Played Cantwell last night, beat them 31-6. We didn't play very well in the first half, once again. The Disease of Playa del Rey.
But the great thing is we're healthy. Nobody injured at all during the contest. We are 3-1 in the league. Verbum Dei won. They're 4-0. We play St. Anthony's this week for homecoming. We never play very well on homecoming and I don't know why. We got beat by 20 or so points last year by Mary Star at our blessed homecoming, and we were 8-0 at the time. So homecomings are always kind of scary weeks.
I've been telling everybody that Reggie Arnold won't be back until the playoffs. That's if we ever make the playoffs. He'll be back, I think, this game. And our fullback, Louis Chude-Sokei, who mysteriously went down against St. Monica with supposed torn ligaments, might be making an appearance. So a couple little boosts for us.
We've gotta play a little excited.
Friday, Oct. 26--6:30 p.m. On my way to Sentinel Field to watch Beverly Hills play Inglewood. A possible Ocean League entry into the playoffs. It's . . . almost like nuclear armament stockpiling. You just go see people because there's the chance you might play them.
Really long practice. Reggie Arnold gets his cast off tomorrow morning, which is outstanding. Lou Chude-Sokei, our fullback, practiced during the week but he didn't get into any live drills so he probably won't play tomorrow. We'll probably try to give the old impression that Lou's gone for the year.
There's been a lot in the papers this last week over the big match-up between St. Anthony's 6-5, 320-pounder against our 6-5 or 6-6, 300-whatever pounder. Jon Harmon goes anywhere from 330 to 370 depending on who you talk to. I don't think that's gonna be a big match-up. Jon plays nose guard and their big kid plays defensive tackle so they might run into each other a little bit on special teams, and we'll see if Jon plays any O (offense) or not. But it's got some press and it's good for Jon.
Carries Image Well
Jon's a very mature individual when you consider he's 17 years old and he's of that size, (where) there's a tendency for people to be a little shy and a bit reticent about going out and meeting the public. He carries on the image of St. Bernard very well, and I think it's a credit to him and his family.
We have three games left. The way it stacks up, if we win three games we're the league champs. I'm real confident we can win tomorrow. I'm very confident we can win the next week against Verbum Dei and close out the season against Mary Star. It's just a question of if we can get going and play some good football. If we do, we're the Camino Real League champs. I don't know how far we could go in the playoffs. You never really know, that's icing on the cake as far as I'm concerned.
I put in a lot of hours. All the coaches do. I don't know if you can ever be compensated for something like that, and I'm starting to look back and reflect. I think Friday night is going to be my last home game, unless we go wild in the playoffs. And I've really enjoyed my stay at St. Bernard, but enough is enough. I just can't put in the hours anymore. I think it's probably taken some years off my life.
Not Much Sleep
I was reading in the paper the other day about Ray Perkins--he was the selection to succeed Bear Bryant (at the University of Alabama)--and how Ray gets only four hours of sleep a night, and he doesn't expect to live past the age of 60. That puts it in perspective right away. I don't want to live that way and right now I am. I'm not getting a whole lot of sleep and I've just totally ruined my sleeping habits. So, in essence, for me to go four hours is better than to go six or seven. I really feel better at four. Even though in the long run I'm sure the hours accumulated start to wear on you.
Enough of my laments. A little violin please.
Monday, Oct. 29--Practice starts in about 15 minutes. Rounding up some film to watch. Film's kind of funny for football coaches. It's like heroin--once you start you've gotta have it. The film's been real weird in the league this year in that some people have videotape, some people have film. Some people want to exchange, some people don't. So it just sort of shoots down all the set standards the league had before. You're supposed to exchange two films, two recent games, and you're supposed to be fined if you don't exchange. So far for the season, this'll be the third can of film we'll exchange.