You have to like Fairfield’s football sense of adventure and school spirit. I know I did Monday night.
A year ago, head coach Bob Miller told me about this new tradition on opening night of workouts where the previous year’s seniors would gather atop the fabled “Falcon Hill,” the notorious conditioning slope behind the high school, and stage and animated reunion. Teammates would cookout, hangout and have a little fun at the expense of the current crop of players.
I had find out for myself. The view overlooking the football field around 6 p.m. was serene as this year’s players gathered about 60 yards away.
Tyler Hostetler and Kyle Mast were grilling, Reece Miller and Lucas Miller were lounging in a cold-water bath in the back of a dump truck and Cameron Kitson sat in a folding chair while chewing through a plate full of pork burgers.
Cam shared one with a hungry writer and Tyler offered up a well-cooked bratwurst. I was set food-wise. Now for the fun stuff.
After the 2014 Falcons stretched out, they headed for the base of “The Hill” to begin a grueling session of running — forward and backward — up the slope. Then crab walks, also forward and backward.
Just kill me now. Conditioning drills like these are designed to separate the men from the boys. In reality, it separated some of the boys from their lunch.
And as each rotation of athletes made it to the top, last year’s crew hit the players with water — buckets, squirt guns, spray hoses, you name it. Forrest Glogouski, Tony Zook, and Lucas Miller each took turns.
It was all in fun and the laughter was shared across the board.
And if a current Falcon struggled, the veterans would head part way down the slope to encourage, not demean. It would have too easy to just sit back and ridicule, but the grads took the high road with their friends, literally and figuratively. A quality move on their part.
After about 20 minutes worth of reps up and down the grass-covered hill, Bob Miller gathered his beleaguered troops for a pep talk, reminding them that they have to “work like a champion to be a champion.”
"It’s going to hurt,“ he said.
Coach grabbed a brat to go and he and I walked slowly to the practice field while the players ran off.
"Looks like too many Cheetohs and Nintendo in the offseason,” he said as he surveyed players watering up for the next round of “real’’ football drills. ”We’ve got some work to do.“