The receiver goes 10 yards downfield, cuts to the right and shakes the cornerback. Aggie signal-caller Randy Wright is right on target and the wideout takes in the throw for a 12-yard gain.
For Wright, the throw was old hat. For ex-UC Davis basketball standout Tina (Galaxidas) Watts — the throw’s recipient — it was all in an evening’s work at last year’s Aggie Women’s Huddle.
The action-packed, information-filled, female-fan-friendly gathering will take place again Friday at Aggie Stadium. For those who have attended, the experience keeps ’em coming back.
“It’s just fun to run through the drills,” says Watts, who religiously attended The Huddle with members of her early 1990s Aggie squads. “We all have the best time together. But for everyone, it is lots of laughing, plenty of football … a few drinks.”
The Huddle, which begins at 6 p.m. at Aggie Stadium, costs $45, and last-minute reservations are available through Wednesday by emailing Kara Heckler at [email protected] Hearty hors d’oeuvres and refreshments (which include beer and wine) are served and participants get a commemorative T-shirt.
But it’s all about getting up close and personal with the Aggie footballers — making the approaching season more meaningful, says Aimee (Conner) Hasson:
“Interacting with the coaches and the players, getting to know them. You’re only at a station for what, 10 minutes? But it’s fun getting to know players and coaches.”
Conner — Hasson’s name in her playing days — is all over the UCD women’s basketball record books. Her 36-point game against Chico State in 1993 remains the program’s biggest one-night output. Her 21.6 ppg that same season is an Aggie standard and she remains the fifth-best career scorer (1,261).
At 43, Hasson is apparently developing some gridiron moves, too.
“I discovered The Huddle the first year coach (Bob) Biggs held it,” remembers Hasson, whose husband Paul is a former Aggie fullback. “I immediately called all my friends and the women’s basketball alums … and it’s been a blast ever since.”
Second-year UCD field general Ron Gould, assistants and Aggie players provide a handful of skills stations at which those women in attendance get personal tutelage in how to block, tackle, ford the obstacles, run routes and pass.
Place kicking — an acquired taste — is even offered.
“Speaking from experience, I think I set the bar kinda high,” says a laughing UCD women’s basketball coach Jennifer Gross, who has been another regular at The Huddle. “I kicked my first field goal last year … you can say it was a 40-yarder.”
Attendees range in age and Gould says his players are careful to line up skill levels with intensity of workouts. Huddlegoers even are welcome to hang out without going through the drills.
“There are all ages, shapes and sizes out there,” says Watts, sister-in-law of Aggie defensive coordinator Bert Watts. “The players are really good about gauging the groups that run through.”
And the social aspect runs high.
After a reception at sign-in at the Bruce Edwards Club Room, Gould and Company talk about what to expect during the Aggies’ second Big Sky Conference season. Then it’s off to stations …
“We want all the husbands to let their wives come over and enjoy some football, learn some football,” Gould told The Enterprise. ” In hanging out with the players, our guys are going to teach ’em something about the game.
“It’s a great group of young men to be around. I think (women) will be impressed with what they learn here. We want all of Davis to come. We want all of Woodland to come over. We want to see if we can get about 300 women here to enjoy an evening with the Aggies.”
Hasson and Watts (whose husband is former Aggie baseball player Rich) agree that by attending the Aggie Women’s Huddle, the football season about to be played becomes a lot more fun.
“When you go to a game, you’re a little bit more invested because you’ve played with the players and you’ve run through some of their drills — then it’s more fun to watch them out there on the field.”
“Watching during games, the players have helmets on and you don’t really know the players. But at The Huddle, you actually get to talk to them — and you get to know the coaches.”
Notes: Names like Angela (West) Scheuring, Laura Bjornson and Suzanne Charles are part of the Hasson-West group that, Aimee says, is “getting a reputation” at The Huddle. The former hoopsters participate in every Aggie event they can get to and love the way “our friendship has continued to stay strong over the year, with husbands and families. All our kids know one another, like each other, like to hang out,” says Watts. … Gould says participants should wear workout clothing, including bringing athletic shoes.
—Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or 530-320-4456.