Beach days are anything but a day at the beach for the South Whidbey High School football team.
The Falcons took to Double Bluff beach this week for morning conditioning. The team calls them beach days. Beach bums would call them a nightmare.
Players sprinted through the wet sand, dragged 15-foot ropes in relays and flipped 170-pound logs.
It’s part of an early-season camp of sorts for the Falcon football team. Some squads from Snohomish and King counties head for camps around Puget Sound, hoping time away from home will bond and unite the players.
South Whidbey’s coaches only looked out their windows for a spot where they could quickly build their players’ endurance.
“These guys, they don’t see it as practice,” said Falcon co-head coach Mark Hodson.
“This is free for us.”
Grueling through hot August mornings while slogging through sand is a proven team-builder for South Whidbey. Drills are contests, and teams accrue points over four mornings at the beach.
One squad, led by seniors Kale Reichersamer and Jordan Parrick, employed humor as motivation. Reichersamer and Parrick cheered every time a drill finished and they were not the last among five teams to end.
“Not last,” Reichersamer cheered after his team ended a handoff drill.
Real exhaustion hit after an hour at the beach, and after the players flipped 170-pound logs end over end for about 20 yards.
“That is an angry logger,” said Hodson of sophomore Xavier Wilson, the player who demonstrated the log flip drill, lifting one end, pushing it to the sand, leaping to its near end and repeating the process.
More than 50 boys were at the beach practices, about 10 more than last year and about one-fifth the high school’s total student body.
South Whidbey opens its season with a non-league contest against Chelan at Waterman’s Field on Sept. 6.