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The Practice of Practice

Quincy Green, Contributing Writer

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4:57 AM On a Thursday morning

*beep beep beep*

My phone alarm beeps nonstop, as I struggle in the dark to reach for my phone and find the snooze button. After finding the phone, I click the home button, and the light shines way too bright for what my tired eyes can handle. You may ask why my alarm is set for such an odd time, but waking up that early gives me enough wiggle room to press snooze a few times and not be late to practice.

5:24 AM
After pressing snooze three times, and my dad yelling upstairs a hundred times, I slowly stumble into the bathroom like a zombie in the last stages of decay to wash up. I turn on the bathroom lights and stare at myself in the mirror for a long time. Staring into my tired eyes, contemplating my entire existence. Is this necessary? Do I love the game enough to do this? If I had a dollar for every time I genuinely thought about skipping morning practice, I would be living on an island somewhere in the Mediterranean.

5:41 AM
On morning practice days, everything before practice is just slow. Thank God my 1.2 mile drive to Bolles isn’t even long enough to hear a full song on the radio. I pull into parking spot C130 right in front of the Cain Gym and sit in my car for a few minutes, genuinely wondering how I got to school safely since I don’t remember the drive. I get out of the car, grab my bags, and head towards the Davis Gym.

5:45 AM
Practice doesn’t officially begin until 6, but if you’re on time, you’re late. On after-school practice days, the vibe in the gym is completely different. Everyone is excited to let loose and practice after sitting in classrooms all day. Morning practices are the exact opposite–no one is excited, and no one is loose. We are tight, tired, and sore; we don’t want to be there.

5:50 AM
I am sitting on the gym floor, stretching and trying to wake my body up. I start to hear the Rocky theme song, and I already know Davey Crouch is coming in. Seeing him that awake and excited about morning practice almost makes you angry, but he brings a good vibe to a very miserable environment.

6:00 AM
Coach begins a recap of our previous game, and talks about our upcoming games, and how we are going to game plan for the next opponent. JV and Varsity usually do a warm up drill together before going to their separate sides of the gym. The warm up drill is by far the most difficult part of a morning practice because no one is mentally or physically ready for three-man weave.

6:08 AM
Your mind is awake, but your body is still sleeping. The first few strides are slow, stiff ones. You know how fast you can move, but your body isn’t allowing you to move at full speed. After a few trips up and down the court, people are starting to wake up, and you might even forget you are at morning practice. The warm up drill has

been going for what seems like a cool million years.

6:15 AM
The first water break. We’ve made it, and we are alive. Practice after this point is when time starts to fly. We break up into teams and game plan for what our next opponent’s strategies. The next hour and a half is a blur. Switching from drill to drill, running, and diving all over the court. You look up at the clock, and it’s 7:40.

7:40 AM
The only word that comes to mind is exhaustion. Everyone knows the practice is coming to an end, but nobody knows what the final drill is. Are we going to have to make a certain amount of free throws with a consequence if we don’t? Or is Coach feeling nice today and going to end practice without running? Well, of course, today we had to shoot, with running on the line. There are 14 players on our team and today we had to make ten free throws out of 14. If we make the ten, we’re free. Everyone is counting in their heads to see if we’re safe. We can’t possibly run any more and you don’t want it to be your fault if the team has to run. If you make the basket, sweet relief.

7:46 AM
We came up just short of the ten free throws we had to make, hitting 9. We run until we’re gasping for breath and the coach finally ends the practice. We all head to the locker room to shower and get ready for school. It is time to switch from athlete mode to student mode. The shower helps. “Party in the USA” is blaring in the locker room. We usually listen to songs that you wouldn’t expect high school boys to listen to, but we’re that cool.

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The Practice of Practice