Being a former football player in high school and college, I can truly say that there is more to a football team than what you see on the practice fields or game days.

Of course, a football team is no different than a volleyball team. A team is a team. Your teammates become like siblings because you spend most of your time with them. We always took up for each other as well. If someone messed with one player then they had to deal with the whole team. And that’s how it should be.

I can honestly say that the game of football has allowed me to build lifelong friendships and form close bonds with former teammates. Mayflower coach Jed Davis understands all of the important elements that make a team bond closer.

Last weekend, the Mayflower football seniors went to Mount Eagle Christian Center, which is just outside of Shirley. This is the third consecutive year that the Eagles have attended the mountains before a football season. The official name for the trip is the Mayflower father and son retreat. All of the coaches attend and each of the team’s seniors, along with their fathers, make the trip. The bunch arrived at Mount Eagle around noon Friday and landed back home around noon Sunday.

"It’s not too many times during the year that dads get to spend a full weekend with their sons, without the wife, work, or whatever else," Davis said. "It’s a great time for the kids to interact with each other and their dads. ... We don’t even bring a football or talk about football. That’s not what this trip is for."

How about that? A football team taking a trip in the midst of the two-a-day frenzy, and no football talk is allowed. Davis said going on the retreat has helped his team during the course of the past two seasons.

"Everybody becomes closer," Davis said. "The kids get to see another side of their dads. And the dads get to see the other side of the football team. We have great dads in the community and they always say that this weekend was the best weekend they’ve ever spent with their sons."

Football is not just a game of X’s and O’s, or where the best team always wins. The mental aspect of the game is just as important as the physical part of it. Knowing that you have someone that has your back while going into battle on game day is an enormous relief.

(Michael Allen is a staff writer for the Log Cabin Democrat. He can be reached by phone at 505-1234 or email, mike.allen@thecabin.net.)