Waking up at 5 a.m. in the summer as a high school student is downright awful, but waking up at that time to do a volunteer Marine workout is nuts.
Friday morning I went out to check out the Marine workout that the Perrysburg High School coaches put their players through. I was surprised the Marines weren't screaming their lungs out at the players, but they were firm, instructive, and encouraging to the players working on strength and conditioning.
Seeing a student walk off the field to throw up in the grass near the visiting stands made me think back to my high school football workouts and how difficult they were.
Even more nuts than it is to wake up for that 6 a.m. workout is the fact that I was missing it.
We never had Marines come to put my team through the rigors, but we did before-school workouts, flipping tires, doing endless squats, and going as far as our coaches could possibly push us, it seemed. We ran the stairs in the summers and jumped over boxes working on our conditioning for the fall. It was extremely painful at the time.
About six years removed from my senior year of high school football, I miss it. I miss seeing the 50 teammates that went through the summer pain with me. I enjoyed walking off the field feeling so accomplished and in prime shape after a full summer or fall camp of workouts. I loved how it changed us from teammates to friends to brothers.
Obviously, the Friday night football games were unforgettable, making plays in front of what seemed like your entire town watching. But those summer workouts were special because that is what it took to have those Friday nights.
I may be able to get back the feeling of accomplishment by putting myself through a vigorous workout to feel more in shape. Hey, maybe I could throw my fiancee over my shoulder and run 50 yards like the "firefighter" drill the Marines put the players through Friday.
But at the end of the day, when I work out now, there isn't that intensity. I can't recreate 50 teenagers busting their butt for the other one. We finished drills strong because you didn't want to cheat your teammate. Every person working together for one goal.