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Sprint Football, More Than Just a Workout

This past week, I had the pleasure of interviewing a close friend of mine and member of the sprint football team at Cornell, Will Shephard. I was curious to learn what is is like to be on the sprint team during the offseason. As an outsider looking in, I only hear about the team working out, never recognizing the level of commitment and bond that is required to maintain the grind in the offseason. Will began his description of the offseason by saying that the team is working out at Bartels three times a week as a team, but to him it is not so much a bothersome requirement as an opportunity to get better. Will commented that “If we want to climb the league and compete with the academies, Navy and Army, we have to be at the gym as much as possible.”

Will went on to say that part of the offseason is also spent recruiting new players to the team. In order to make the new recruits feel at home and understand the program, older players bring them to the office of sprint director, Terry Cullen, of “Terry mother-f**kin Cullen” as Will so eloquently put it. If that statement does not make it clear the respect Director Cullen enjoys from his players, allow me to elaborate. The reason sprint players bring new recruits to Director Cullen is because he assists them in all aspects of life. Whether that is with financial aid, help in school, or simply to be someone to talk to, Director Cullen represents all the program stands for. This is why players feel it is so crucial to introduce recruits to him.

Will made it seem as if the players on sprint were all equally committed as much to the process of improving their ability as to improving the closeness of the team. Part of attending the hours and hours of practice is to create a bond with teammates beyond a basic friendship, towards a desire to defend and fight for one another on the field. The process of working to become great and advance the team’s position in the league is a goal all players share and use as a common motivator to rally behind. The sprint offseason is so much more than basic workouts, it is a bond, a commitment and a family that continues to grow together and attract new players each year.

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