Confession that won’t surprise you: Sometimes I fixate on players who others would not give much time or ink to.
There are explanations, oftentimes a singular story, play, effort or moment, that are otherwise anonymous, but nevertheless intrigue me. You can trace this back across time, but I know, because others have told me, that the list includes A.J. Nastasi, Vaughn Rivers, Ricky Kovatch, Jim Lewis, Cecil Level, K.J. Dillon, Austin Copeland and many others. Really not a star among those names.
And sometimes I’m rewarded.
That’s the reason I’ll never leave the written word. There are way, waaaaay too many stories to tell. I’ve written about all those guys — in many cases, I’ve written more than anyone else about those guys — and almost without fail I and you discover there’s a reason to really like them beyond the fact they wear your favorite uniform.
During spring football and preseason camp, I got hooked on Mike Calicchio because the guy is 6-foot-9 and 325 pounds and is the middle shield on punts. To me, a guy who watched 30 minutes of practice twice a week, that’s fantastic.
But there is more to Calicchio, a kid who played one season in Brooklyn, one season in Philadelphia and one season at WVU before panicking and leaving to go to C.W. Post. He’s back now and making the Mountaineers better.
“He’s one of those guys on your team that you love to be around because he’s so passionate about football,” offensive line coach Ron Crook said. “He’s into it. He loves it, and he’s not passionate about just WVU football. He loves football and he’s fun to be around.
“When someone is passionate about it and loves it, it raises the level of excitement and fun the whole group is having, and we do try to put a lot of emphasis on having fun out there even though some of the drills and stuff we do on a daily basis out there is not fun.”