Hudson Valley Sports Report

NO OFF-SEASON: Marist College Football Readies For Aug. 10 First Practice

EDITOR’S NOTE: In high school and college athletics, there is no longer an off-season. Between camps, organized team activities, private training, travel ball and more, these dedicated athletes today are playing and practicing year-round. This is another installment in a series of stories leading up to the first official day of high school practice on Aug. 15, taking a look at our area teams and competitors. – Rich Thomaselli

By Greg Allen
Special to HVSR

POUGHKEEPSIE – Marist College football coach Jim Parady had both knees and his left palm pressed into the rubber beads of the turf last week. His right hand held a pen, as he rewarded young campers with his autograph, sending all of the kids into their parents’ cars with a glistening smile.

Mike White opted to stand to sign his autographs. Kids lined up to have their “Defend the Den” Marist football banners signed by the starting quarterback. The campers looked up at him as if he was Eli Manning—admiring his stature, personality and demeanor.

Little do they know, some probably sat in the same movie theater as the junior quarterback and other Red Foxes earlier this summer when they went to see Finding Dory and The Secret Life of Pets.

“We like hanging out as a team,” White said. “We build chemistry. We like bowling and movies. We’re still kids, you know? We like to have fun.”

Part of being on campus as an athlete in the summer is enjoying free time as a team. As diligently as the players work to get bigger and stronger, there is plenty of down time for bonding experiences.

It’s not all fun and games, though. Players work out four times a week with the strength and conditioning coaches. They do a mix of lifting and running, and as of Tuesday about 75% of the players on campus have passed what will be required during the conditioning test.

“They’re showing us that they’re in good shape right now, and they’ll be ready to go when we start up on August 10,” Parady said.

Since organized football activities can not start until August 10, White has been getting on the field with some players in his own time just to get some repetitions in. He also said he’s been studying film to help him grow as a quarterback.

“Last year, I was young, and I wasn’t really in my prime,” White said. “So far this year, I’ve been on top of my film to learn the coverages. I a step further than I was last year.”

Working the camp is also a huge part of being on campus. The kids look up to the athletes so it is important that the players set a good example and help the kids learn as much as possible.

“I think it’s a great community event,” Parady said. “My players do a great job of being role models. We have about 100 campers here, and we invite them to all of our home games, so we get a bunch of kids from the area at our games.”

Along with working at the camps, captain and defensive back Cameron Gibson has been heavily involved in community service projects, and has recently been nominated for the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Good Works Team which recognizes athletes who demonstrate a willingness to provide for their community.

On campus, he has served as a peer mentor, participated in the White Ribbon campaign, and volunteered with the Special Olympics.

“We try to develop good student athletes and get them involved in the community,” Parady said. “Cam has embraced that right from the first day he was on campus. He’s always been a good leader for us.”

The Red Foxes open the season on Sept. 3 at 6 p.m. at Marist where they will square off against Bucknell.

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