Working out with just a few teammates is better than working out alone, at home
For a January morning, it wasn’t too cold Tuesday at Mountain View High School as football players arrived, before sunrise, for an outdoor workout session with weights.
Nathan Woolley was the first in line to sign in, and he showed up in shorts.
“I’m from North Dakota so I’d be hard-pressed to find anything here cold,” Woolley said.
Soon after, the other players scheduled for the 7 a.m. workout arrived. Mountain View football coach Adam Mathieson pointed a scanner at each player’s forehead, recorded body temperatures, and asked COVID-related questions before they could proceed.
“It’s definitely not where I expected my senior year to be,” Wooley said, noting a football workout in January with the hopes of a shortened season in the coming months. “Whatever it takes to try to get a season done. I’m looking forward to this year. I think we’re going to have a strong team.”
Four work stations were set up along a walkway, under an overhang, outside of the north side of the high school.
Athletes could bench press, but the rule was no maxing out. Just reps with light weights so there would be no need for a spotter. Three athletes were allowed at each station, but they were reminded to stay at least 6-feet from one another, and to clean equipment prior to the next athlete. They were told to keep their masks on at all times, as well.
In theory, 12 athletes could be there at the same time, but Mathieson said he is trying to keep it at around eight or nine athletes per session. Times were set up for 45-minute workouts beginning at 7, 8, and 9 a.m. before school, then 3, 4 and 5 p.m. after school. On the next day, another group of athletes gets to use the program’s equipment. In two days, more than 90 athletes could take advantage of the availability.
“I’m excited. I’ve been trying to get as much work as I can with my 25-pound dumbbells at home,” Woolley said. “Having the team to work with again … is really going to help.”
That is more of a driving force than just getting prepared for a season.
“It’s a chance to re-engage a little bit,” Mathieson said, noting that teens are a vulnerable population and that they need to be around each other as well as positive role models.
“Protocols say we can be outside, in small groups, with masks on, and we haven’t been in the weight room since before Thanksgiving, so we said, ‘Let’s try it,’” Mathieson said.
Parents and coaches showed up Monday night to set up the work stations outside. The band is giving the football team some space to store the weights inside, overnight, right near the walkway.
“It’s definitely a blessing,” said senior Kevin Chen. “I’m grateful we have the opportunity today to work out and to meet up with our teammates and coaches again. It’s just been forever, and it means a lot.”
Working out is all part of becoming a better athlete, even if football players aren’t used to preparing for a late winter, early spring season.
“It’s part of the grind. Gotta love it,” said sophomore Kyle Chen.
He added that it has been frustrating to see high school football being played throughout much of the country but not in Washington. He remains hopeful there will be some sort of football season, though.
“God has a plan for all of us. Gotta trust the process, the plan,” Kyle Chen said.
Right now, that process calls for early morning workout sessions, outside, in January.
“You just want to give hope for the kids,” Mathieson said. “We’re in the business for kids. We’re going to stay positive for them.”