TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — Eastern High School football players showed up early Friday morning for what might arguably be deemed the most demanding test of physical and mental fortutude of their season. The athletes participated in a football “bootcamp” formulated and conducted by the Ohio National Guard.
“This is a conditioning program that focuses on team building and mental toughness,” said Sergeant First Class Todd Farrar.
He went on to explain that although his detachment is centered around southeast Ohio, it services teams all over the state.
“Participation in our program has grown exponentially since its inception in 2005, and it encompasses all sports — boys’ and girls’ — including football, basketball, and volleyball. Although primarily geared toward high school, we’ve also conducted camps for junior high and college teams.”
With temperatures pushing toward the 100 degree mark, Farrar and four of his fellow guardsmen led the athletes throiugh a rigorous warm-up before putting them through four quarters of specialized drills and maneuvers. Throughout the training the guardsmen emphasized team comradery and the importance of good decision making skills when pertaining to study habits, drug and alcohol abuse, peer pressure, and other life issues.
“This camp was a lot tougher than I expected,” commented senior quarterback, Joey Scowden. “But I’m glad I went through it. It showed us what we can really do when we push ourselves. And believe it or not, it was fun!”
At the conclusion of the program, the Guardsmen presented the team with a hard-earned banner that signifies that they are now “survivors of the Ohio National Guard Football Bootcamp.”
“Coach Tennant has an amazing group of kids who are smart, resilient, and good under pressure,” remarked SFC Farrar. “They’re a close group with good senior leadership.”
Second-year head football coach David Tennant was also optimistic about his players and their performance at the boot camp.
“I’m proud of these kids,” said Tennant. “They proved that they can train alongside the finest athletes in the nation. Surviving this bootcamp was no small feat. We will display this banner with pride!”
The Eagles will open their season with a home contest against Symmes Valley on August 24.