NICK’S NOTES: Understudies

When I was a senior in high school, I tried out for the role of Lt. Joe Cable in my school’s production of “South Pacific.” I thought I nailed the audition. I had worked hard in the offseason, joining choir and taking voice lessons. I wanted that part so bad. I thought I deserved it.

I did get the part of Joe Cable, but as an understudy. I felt disrespected to be a backup.

I tried to find some silver lining in the situation, but If you get excited about being an understudy, your rose-colored glasses are probably so thick, you think storm clouds are really just cotton candy.

Sometimes we just have to be a backup. Just ask any member of the Marshall High School football team. With only 11 men able to be on the field at any one time, the understudies, or backups, get used to waiting.

There are a two ways one can approach being the backup: slack off and pray nothing is going to happen or prepare and be patient.

And from what I’ve seen, the Tigers have chosen the later.

With Marshall yet to play in a nail-biter, – the Tigers have outscored opponents 200-7 through four games – the youngsters are getting a chance to show their stuff when most fans decide they’d like to beat the Mattke Field traffic.

Sophomore quarterback Trey Lance knows he’ll have to wait a while before he gets a starting role, but he’s appreciated getting to play under the lights.

“It’s always exciting getting the opportunity. A lot of younger guys have been getting new opportunities. Coach is making sure everyone gets in, but it’s really exciting,” he said before practice on Thursday.

Lance made the most of his playing time last week, scoring on a three-yard touchdown run.

“It’s not the same in practice. You want to go at the same pace, but it’s not the same in practice. I’m getting used to it for the next few years,” said Lance.

Coach Terry Bahlmann also said that he wants his backups to come in and execute on offense and defense, which he feels they have been doing well.

“We want them to be hungry for playing time, which they are,” said Bahlmann.

I was much less vigilant than those Tigers lining the sidelines.

About three months into rehearsals for “South Pacific,” the lead Joe Cable was suspended from school. I’ll admit I had a little schadenfraude, but I also had another feeling, pure terror.

I had slacked off in learning my lines or my songs, and I had less than a month till showtime. Luckily, at showtime I brought the house down with my performance (At least that’s what I remember.)

Keep learning your parts, youngsters. You’ll never know when you’ll be called for a starring role.