Hell week: hour by hour

Not all weeks are created equal. Once a year, at the end of the summer, the football team goes through “hell.” It is breakfast, downtime, practice, lifting, shower, meetings, lunch, meetings, more downtime, more meetings, another practice, another shower, pool and dinner packed into a 16.5 hour day:

6 a.m. Rise ‘n’ shine
Coaches wake up the players. The team marches groggily from its sleeping quarters in Hamilton Gym to the cafeteria to eat. From the time they finish breakfast until practice, the players have some downtime.

8 a.m. Hit the ground running
Practice starts at 8 a.m., and it doesn’t end until at least 10 a.m., sometimes 10:30 a.m. The first three days of hell week involve drills without pads.

“After pads came on, running got harder,” Ryan Calvert ’07 said.

10:30 a.m. Cool down
The sun is baking Ted Slavin Field, and all Calvert can think about is dunking his aching, tender feet into a trash can filled with ice water. The ice saves players’ legs from soreness, Calvert said. Most players said that the ice hurt, until they became numb.
“Then it’s awesome,” Calvert said.

“It actually feels really good because you don’t have your legs in there for that long,” Ross Gruber ’08 said.

Next up is a team meeting, followed by other specialized meetings. Players watch film, learn plays in offensive meetings and review defense in defensive meetings, Calvert said.

12:30 p.m. Lunch and downtime
Players lunch in the cafeteria. Until 3:45 p.m., they are free. Some players receive concussion tests, are fit for mouth guards and obtain knee braces. The other players nap, watch T.V. and play video games in Hamilton.

3:45 p.m. Special teams meetings
Players study special teams, learning kick-off, kick-off return, punt, punt-return, field goal and field goal defense.

“The part that was most difficult was the meetings,” Head Coach Vic Eumont said. “Sitting in the meeting and paying attention after you’ve had a hard workout or you’ve been lifting, that is hard.”

5 p.m. Evening practice
Players head to Ted Slavin field again, six and a half hours after they left it. This practice lasts about two hours.

7 p.m. Shower and pool
“We just wore the compression shorts,” Calvert said, referring to the shorts that players wear under their pads and uniform. “Seniors two years ago and last year got naked. This year we didn’t feel like that.”

7:30 p.m. Dinner, followed by downtime
So, is “hell week” really hell afterall?

“The name is self-explanatory,” Ben Kattan ’09 said.

10:30 p.m. Lights out.
All of the players sleep in Hamilton Gym, and coaches remain at school as chaperones.

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