That period at the end of the day. The dreaded period. We have two minutes to run down from the school and somehow make it to the field house to dress in our all-but-standard workout clothes. Then we get together and the Head Coach talks for a minute. If it’s Monday he’s telling us that everyone will go to the weight room, (which is two blocks away). If it’s Tuesday or Thursday he’s telling us that the receivers will stay on the track and the linemen will run to the weight room. On Mondays we go to the weight room to get yelled at by a bunch of coaches who give us workouts they know we cant finish just so we don’t get a minutes rest. Then we go out side and do cone drills, slamming our hands in the mud so we can get around the orange cone. After all that is done we jog all the way back to the track. Then they take us and put us in speed-based groups. When we are in our groups, they start the first group on a quarter or one lap as fast as they can go. I watch the running backs, receivers, and quarterbacks take off wondering where they get the speed they have. Be fore they are even finished, my group takes off. I push off hard and start pumping my legs again and again. The whole time coach is yelling at us to push hard. The whole time im just thinking in my head about things in the past and things in the future. It’s like my body is moving but my mind isn’t making it. Like it’s going on its own. The final stretch I can smell the odor of burning rubber and sweat flowing through my nose. I try to find the gas I need to finish but for some reason its not there this time. I finish ahead of the group panting, gasping for breath while the whole time im being told to “get off my knees” and “get off the track”. On Tuesdays and Thursdays my group and I sprint to the weight room and lift and lift and lift. We lift until the receivers are finished. When they are, the receivers sprint down to the weight room and the linemen sprint to the track. When we arrive at the track they split us up into four groups, fastest to slowest. Me being in the first group I have to go first. What happens at the track on Tuesdays and Thursdays is we run four 200’s. Always competing while we are running. It’s very difficult because we are already tired by the time we get to the track and now we have to actually run? With the sun bearing down on us and the exhaustion getting to us? Yes. This is what athletics is about. Pushing when you are the most tired. So in the end, off-season may be bad but at least it’s making us better athletes and better teammates.
April 8, 2008