June 27, 2012 - By Olivia Shumaker
These varsity hopefuls run wind sprints and other exercises to prepare for the grueling 2012 Football Season. Photo by O. Shumaker (click for larger version)
This summer, hundreds of Lake Orion boys have been waking up early, not to catch work shifts or a morning date, but to go to football camp.
Starting bright and early and running throughout the summer, the Lake Orion football training and camps intend to keep the teams busy while getting ready for the Fall football season, whether they are old pros or new to the game.
"There's a definite philosophy that goes into what we do," said Chris Bell, head coach for the high school varsity football team.
The varsity coaches run three camps: the high school camps, the middle school camps, and four days of "football academy" that are open to seventh graders through seniors. There are nine camp days throughout the summer apart from scrimmages and conditioning for the players to utilize as preparation for the season.
"The academies allow us to work individually with kids on their positions," said Bell. "We do more team building at the camps."
Roughly 200 players show up to academy days, about 75 to 100 in the middle school camps, and about 100 to 150 players attend the high school camps. Players get up early to attend—varsity and junior varsity strength training runs from seven a.m. to nine a.m., and freshmen train from nine to ten, multiple days each week.
"If you want to be good, you have to invest and sacrifice," said Bell.
Still, the sacrifice is no deterrent to the players. The vast majority of players willingly haul themselves to strength training and the various camps. For returning players, it is about being able to rejoin their friends and their game on the field.
"It gets everybody in the football mindset," said senior Brandon Clements. "You're with your friends and it's just a good time. Everybody's out here trying to get better."
For new players, it is about learning the game so that they can be a valuable addition when Fall rolls around. Middle school players cannot lift weights with the high school players. Instead, much of their time at the camps and academies is focused on learning how the high school football program operates from working with varsity coaches and figuring out the roles of offensive and defensive players.
"It's worth it because if you don't come to camp, you're not going to be better to play," said seventh grade student Grant Tasley.
Middle school players look forward to learning how to tackle and run with the football, training to do justice to their teams and eventually join the high school program. High school players, attending strength training, eagerly await each Friday workout, when they get to take part in their beloved—and infamous—junkyard wars, a workout involving weights, a pickup truck, very large tires, and sledgehammers.
"It's worth it because everybody's out here working for the same goal," said senior Derek DeLaura. "We all come out here, we all have the same mindset—play hard, play fast."