Two-and-a-half hours a day. Four days a week. Every week this summer.
That’s how often senior Sean Parker and many of his Poolesville High School football teammates said they trained in the weight room this summer.
On Monday, with less than 48 hours until the start of preseason, they’d spend another few hours in their workout spot, but on this afternoon, there was no heavy lifting. Instead, there was a lot of sitting around and staring at screens, as Poolesville converted its weight room into a video game center and played a team-wide FIFA (soccer) tournament.
“It’s very fun being here,” senior Sean Parker said of the tournament. “We don’t really do things like this.”
With Montgomery County’s high school preseason beginning on Wednesday, football teams such as Poolesville’s took advantage of their final hours of summer freedom. Poolesville set up eight video game systems and eight televisions, including a big screen for the championship match, for its tournament.
“It’s kind of cool that we can conclude the summer workouts by having fun and competing against each other in video games,” junior Louis Potts said.
The tournament marked the end of a busy offseason that concluded with some players completing the “Poolesville Punisher,” a challenging workout.
“[It’s a] little reward for the kids to try and have some fun,” Poolesville coach Will Gant said.
Teams across the county had different team-building activities in the days preceding preseason.
Potomac’s Winston Churchill attended The EDGE Team Football Camp at Salisbury University in early August. The three-day trip helped the players develop football skills and team chemistry, coach Joe Allen said.
“The kids get familiar with who they’re going to play with and who’s going to be coaching them. It’s more a team building thing than anything else,” he said.
Churchill also had monthly non-football get-togethers, including cookouts and a trip to Dave & Buster’s, Allen said.
“We’re just trying to get the guys to bond together and to get together as a team. The kids get to know each other and so far it seems to have worked out real well.”
Quince Orchard in Gaithersburg had no special team-building activity this past week, but after a productive summer in the weight room, coach John Kelley said players were given the week off.
“We’ve been going all summer so we give them a week to let their bodies recover … Wednesday they hit the ground running with the first practice,” Kelley said.
Poolesville and other county schools are scheduled to begin their seasons on Sept. 5. Until then, they’ll be spending their days preparing for Week 1.
“We’re ready to go,” Parker said. “… We have a good group of people so it’ll be really nice to have everybody else here and everybody working hard, because we’re trying to get a 2A state championship.”