The return to limited, socially distanced strength and conditioning and sport-specific activities happened this past Monday for schools across the University Interscholastic League.
Bellville head football coach and athletic director Grady Rowe said the Brahmas had a successful first day back with 60 male athletes showing up to the Monday morning session prepared for what was going to happen.
“It was good just to see kids, visit with them a little bit,” Rowe said in a June 8 phone interview. “We've been communicating through an app so they were aware of what's going on. Of course I've been calling and talking to them over this COVID-19 delay that we've had. Our kids were pretty prepared.”
Each student-athlete was screened for symptoms through questioning and had their temperature taken upon arrival. Rowe said that if these are the necessary steps to take in order to play a full football season, Bellville is all the way on board.
“I told our kids that what the UIL tells us to do right now, we're going to do that and then a little bit more with our screening process and what we're doing,” Rowe said. “Hopefully over the time frame before we get to school and over this next month, things are opened up a little bit more where we're able to do a little bit more and maybe get in a huddle and do some of those things.”
Also in regard to safety, Rowe said the workouts will incrementally become more difficult as time goes on but this early stretch is important to regaining stamina and good form.
“We're going to work with them gradually and build them back up. They've been away for a long time,” Rowe said. “We were sending workouts and things but it's just not the same. Some of them came in, surprisingly, in really good shape. Some of them hurt a little bit. We told them to stick with it.”
Another message Rowe relayed to his team was about current events going on in the wake of the killing of Houston native George Floyd.
“Between our strength and conditioning and then moving into our football drills we took a little time to bring up some of the injustices and racism and prejudices that is in our nation and we're going to continue to talk more,” Rowe said. “Our kids were really receptive to it. Like I told them, I don't think there's a greater place than a locker room and a team, where everyone's equal and there aren't the prejudices in locker rooms.”
In light of the turmoil of the last few months across the world and nation, Rowe said he was just glad to see the players’ faces in person again instead of through a screen.
“That was the best thing about it; just to see them and be able to spend time with them. We've been doing that over the phone but it's just not the same when you get to visit with them,” Rowe said. “Some have gotten taller and grown.”