Dan Whalen, an SI summer intern, is the starting quarterback for Division III Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Coming off an 11-1 season, he will blog about life in D-III every Wednesday.
We've been on the field every day for two weeks straight, sometimes twice a day. It's about 20 degrees hotter on the turf than anywhere else in the sun. With the tiny black rubber pellets that are a main ingredient in FieldTurf, sometimes it feels like the earth below you is on fire if your feet are on the ground too long. And with the three-hour practices we've been having, you need blisters and turf-burns like you need a hole in your head.
After practice, the place to be is the ice bath. We just got two new whirlpools that are large enough for one person at a time, yet they always seem to have three or four people awkwardly dipping different body parts in the tub like it's a game of twister. Conversations range from bad decisions made over the weekend, to arguments between offensive and defensive players about who was better. Suzi, our trainer, has three rules: no swearing, no cleats ... and the third one I don't remember but I'm positive it exists.
I was voted a captain by my teammates last week, a great honor which I am both humbled by and excited about. Brian Calderone, our All-America defensive end, was elected as our other captain and it's well deserved, though he kind of pisses me off in practice with his incessant Rudy-esque effort. He's in the offensive backfield on every snap and then you'll turn your head and he'll make the tackle 20 yards downfield. The program lists only one No. 97 jersey, but sometimes I wonder if there are two or three on our defense.
Class started Monday and I'm not looking forward to writing papers and sitting in on hour-long lectures again. It seems like we just got out of school and here we are scraping gunk out of our eyes at 7 a.m. and making the 15-minute cross-campus trek to class. The worst part is, we live on top of a pretty big hill, so the walk home at the end of the day is awful.
On an average day, between warm-ups, individual drills, group drills, 7-on-7, and the team session, plus about 15-20 throws when I'm just screwing around, I'd estimate that I throw close to 400 balls every practice. Now I'm no math major, but over our first two weeks, if we had 17 practices ... 17x400 is 6,800 throws. Talk about arm fatigue.
We have a little more than a week until our opener at Kenyon College. See you next week.