From the Booth
Thursday, August 22, 2002
By Jeff Charles
Voice of the Pirates
Have you ever stopped to think what it must be like to be a college
football player today?
The time demands are incredible, and something a lot of folks may not
realize is that football at the Division I-A level is a twelve-month
Let’s take a look at how the calendar works:
It’s August first and football is here. The guys start reporting in, with
freshmen first, followed by the varsity a few days later. After obligatory
meetings, equipment assignments and physicals, the actual practices start in
the ninety plus degree heat, three times a day no less.
August is a month of hard tough work with two or three scrimmages in
preparation for the first game. These guys are also students and let’s not
forget the responsibilities of registering for and actually starting
classes, about the third week of August. The good news when classes start is
that the three a days are over, but that lone late afternoon practice is no
picnic, complete with “gassers” at the end of practice.
Finally, September is here and it’s football time in eastern North Carolina.
Everyone now settles into a routine. Monday is the lone off day, Tuesday and
Wednesday are tough practices, Thursdays ease up a bit and Fridays are
basically “walk through” days. Saturday is the big game, followed by
Sundays, with afternoon meetings, treatment, including a swimming session in
the Minges Pool, and then an hour or so on the practice field to work out
the kinks. Next week is here and guess what? It’s the same routine. Fridays
do vary somewhat if the game is away and it becomes a travel day. The
Pirates usually charter late Friday afternoons.
Think about this, the season this year is sixteen weeks long. Did you say
the NFL? The season starts August 31st at Duke and doesn’t conclude until
December 6th this year against Cincinnati. That’s a long haul and it becomes
a “grind it out” type mentality. If you’re winning it goes fast, if you’re
losing, well you get the picture.
December, hopefully, is bowl month. Guess what? More football practices,
this month is consumed by almost daily practices and preparation. We’re now
talking about five months of non-stop football. Oh yes, these guys have to
go to class too, taking around sixteen hours or so.
January comes and the new year finally ushers in a break. Maybe ten days or
so, and the marching orders are given… “guys don’t go home and get fat,
conditioning drills start as soon as you get back for the second semester.”
Conditioning drills are great fun. You get up at 6:00 a.m. and participate
in fun events like “hell week.” This goes on until mid February when, guess
what, spring football practice starts. Another fifteen practices with
strength and conditioning sessions daily. It’s finally over the first of
April or so, just in time to gear up for finals and still stay in shape.
Summer school starts in May and virtually every varsity player stays in
Greenville to go to summer school and surprise, an off season conditioning
program which consists of daily running and lifting. The first session ends,
the second session begins and it’s dejavu all over again. That takes us up
to about August 1st and here comes another season. Fast forward to another
Work ethic, dedication, character, accountability…are those some of the
words that come to mind?
Please take a moment to stop and think what these guys do to represent you
every Saturday. It should make you proud. Till next time, “Keep Painting ‘em
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