Gino's Blog

4-season football

The price that’s paid, the decisions made, determine who fades.
The ’fourth season’ decides championships. Three seasons are never enough. The fourth season is the difference between first place and dead last.

I define football season differently than the way conventional wisdom does. Conventional thinking defines football season with 3 seasons – pre-season, regular-season, post-season.

Three seasons are not enough to win championships at any level of football. Four seasons are needed. The 4th season is called the ‘off-season.’ The off-season is the difference between winners and losers. The Oakville Longhorns have 4 seasons. Football season is 365-24-7 business. Football is the business of survival. All survival is a matter of personal choices. What is done in the off-season cannot be undone. What is not done in the off-season can never be done.

The fourth season is directed by each player’s conscious. Football is a high-risk sport that cuts up the weak, breaking them to pieces. When you choose to play for the Oakville Longhorns, you choose to be part of a team, not apart from the team. And you chose to be a first-responder. You have to be the first to back-up.

When I was a police officer between 1975-1990, there were three words that started life-and-death decision-making – “UNIT TO BACK.” The dispatcher would send a car to an emergency call to a specific address and add the three magic words – “UNIT-TO-BACK.” It wasn’t a request, it was a demand. You dropped whatever you were doing or not doing and backed-up your teammate. It didn’t matter if you liked your teammate or if s/he was your friend. It didn’t matter if you socialized with him/her or if you couldn’t stand him/her. You just backed-up. That’s what teams do. They back each other up, unconditionally, no matter what.

No one wants an out-of-shape back-up. An out-of-shape back-up is an oxymoron – it’s not a back-up, it’s a threat. If you want to be an Oakville Longhorn starter, you have to be the best back-up. You have to back-up your teammates no matter what. If you want to play individual sports, there are plenty of them.
Individual sports are brutally tough. So are team sports. The Oakville Longhorns play a team sport. When you chose the Longhorns, you chose a team sport over individual sports.
Oakville Longhorns have 4 seasons: off-season, pre-season, regular season, post-season. What you do or don’t do in the off-season determines what happens in the post-season. What you do or don’t do in the off-season determines what type of back-up you are and what type of starter you are. Once you decide to be a Longhorn, you commit to being the best back-up. You commit to backing up your teammate when you hear “Unit to back.” Being the best back-up you can be is non-negotiable. It’s not an option. It’s policy. Team policy.


Gino Arcaro
Head coach –Oakville Longhorns football