Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Chapter 5: Conditioning Test

Fourteen teenage boys milled about the high school stadium parking lot making idle chatter.  Hartman sensed their nervousness, eagerness, excitement, worry.  He tried not to smile despite his own giddiness; this was Christmas morning.

            -Morning.  It’s 7:03.  We’re running late.  Before we board the van—if you board the van—we’ll be taking a conditioning test.  To the weight room.

            The boys hesitated for a moment before following Hartman like a brood of ducklings.  Already ten steps ahead and not looking back, Hartman was talking to Pereira, the tennis coach who was acting as assistant for camp week.  The regular season assistant, Fitts, claimed work obligations.  A hushed din of speculation and banter followed Hartman all the way to the Dank Tank doors.

            -What are we doing?
            -Running on treadmills?
            -Maybe the bike.
            -Or the elliptical.
            -He’s giving us some sort of test?
            -About running?
            -Maybe we’re just starting our run from the Dank…

            Jenkins and Hammond didn’t add to the hypotheses.  They soaked it in and took deep breaths.  Whatever Hartman asked the team to do this morning, it would be hard.  He liked to make an impression on day one.  One year of legend, he jettisoned his squad from the team van ten miles from the campsite.  Gave them each a map and directions and told them to be there in ninety minutes.  Another year he made them do intervals while carrying water in their mouths.  If they swallowed or spit the water during the interval, it was back to the start of the workout.  Hartman thought that today’s inauguration was rather insipid. 

            The coach unlocked the door and proceeded to the center of the room.  He breathed in the must of rusty iron plates and waited for the boys to circle round him.  Pereira stayed by the door acting as sentinel.

            -At our June meeting, I gave you all summer training plans.  Those plans emphasized the importance of core work.  Today we’ll be assessing whether or not you did your homework.

            He let his introduction settle over the fourteen runners before him.  Smitty mumbled at a two-foot voice, Well this is a new one.

            -You’ll be tested on the following physical activities: pushups, situps, pullups, plank hold, wall sit, and general flexibility.  Each test will occur over a two minute interval with the exception of pullups.  You’ll do those until you max out.  Any questions?

            Wallan had a question about what constitutes a plank hold, and Deo inquired about what way to hold your hands for the pullups.  Other than that nobody petitioned the coach.  Despite agape mouths, the freshmen didn’t utter a sound.

            -The first thing we do is height and weight check.  Take your sneakers off.  Leave everything else on.  You should step on the scale wearing t-shirt, shorts, and socks.  That’s it. 
            -Coach, my t-shirt is one of those heavy knit ones.  I think I should take it off.
            -Leave it on.

            Hartman had them line their sneakers against the wall and queue up alphabetically in front of the scale.  He couldn’t help thinking how vulnerable these waifs looked…

In ten minutes everyone’s height and weight was recorded.  Hartman yelled it out and Pereira wrote it down.  Coetaine came in a bit heavy, and the coach made sure everyone knew it.  Stay away from Cinders, he told him in a loud voice.

            -We’re doing the work in this order: one-pushups, two-planks, three-situps, four-wall sit, five-pullups.  We’ll end with flexibility.  Everybody should be limbered up by then.  You’ll all watch each other complete these tests.  No hiding.

            He didn’t ask for volunteers.  He simply announced who was up, who was on deck, and who was in the hole.  They obeyed like soldiers.  After the first rotation, the boys were all either sweating or on the brink of sweat.  Amazing how a body can change in two minutes.  Part of his doing everything on two minutes was for them to see how long two minutes can feel.  When a runner is sitting against a wall at a ninety degree angle for 120 seconds it can feel like a thousand.  It was good for them to know this.  It would help them race with an internal clock, one to which the competition was oblivious.

            -I’m dying here, Spidestrom gasped.
            -I’d rather sprint ten miles than do this shit.
            -What’s the point of this anyway?  We’re not the football team.
            -Hartman’s finally lost it.
            -My pecs and abs are going to be killing me for the whole camp.
            -I know, me too.  
            -He did tell us to do this stuff.
            -He also told us to run five hundred miles this summer, and who did that?

            Coetaine got some looks from his cohorts.  Many of them had done the core work and the miles, maybe not five hundred but not a hundred either.  Although doing the core work didn’t exactly prepare them for this morning, they still followed the coach’s prescription.  You do abs for five minutes a day, you’ll never get a side stitch again, he told them, and they believed him.  These guys got a whiff of a championship last year and they were hungry.  

            -Okay, we’re on to pullups.  No watch for this one.  Do them ‘til you’re done.

            Coetaine gritted and twisted and pulled his way through five.  Everyone hooted and jeered.  Hammond managed nine and Jenkins twelve.  Smitty and the boys whooped it up until Jenkins kissed each one of his eleven-inch biceps.  Even Hartman cracked half a grimace.  The pullups, however, belonged to Kimihara.  He sailed through the first dozen and didn’t waver until eighteen.  At twenty he hit the wall. 

            -Two more, Deo, two more.
            -It’s gotta be a record.
            -Blackjack! Blackjack! Blackjack, the team shouted in unison.

            Kimihara hit twenty-one and Hartman accomplished his mission.  He was at muscle failure, but Deo quickly recovered to reciprocate high-fives. 

            -Okay, we’re at flexibility now.  Let’s get through this.

            The team filed through the flexibility drills, each one talking to his teammates around him about the ten minutes they just experienced.  They talked about it all the way to the van. 

            Here’s what the clipboard recorded in the Dank Tank on the first official practice of the season:

Athlete
Year
Height
Weight
Pushups
Plank
Situps
Wall Sit
Pullups
Buck
FR
5’3”
106
30
1:10
40
:55
2
Coetaine
JR
6’0”
175
38
1:36
55
1:01
5
Galiozzi
JR
5’11”
161
60
1:52
60
1:56
6
Hammond
SR
5’9”
133
71
2:00
70
2:00
10
Jenkins
SR
5’9”
126
74
2:00
80
2:00
12
Kimihara
SO
5’5”
109
60
2:00
55
2:00
21
Lee
FR
5’2”
100
30
1:00
44
:45
3
Pawgoski
FR
5’6”
114
59
2:00
62
2:00
7
Sellberg
FR
5’7”
129
40
1:05
45
1:06
3
Smith
SR
5’11”
152
76
2:00
80
2:00
13
Spidestrom
SO
5’9”
130
51
1:30
62
1:30
6
Torres
JR
5’10”
149
75
2:00
81
2:00
14
Wallan
SO
5’6”
126
50
1:50
54
1:30
5


1 comment:

Muddy Puddin' said...

Love the chart and stats.

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