By Alex Welch
The Ola High School football
team went through a special type of training on Wednesday, July 24,
as the Marine Corps Recruiting Substation (RSS) from Jonesboro and
players ran through drills that the Marines experience on a regular
basis, helping the team learn more about fitness and what it takes
to be a leader.
Sgt. Driskell of Marine Corps
RSS Jonesboro gives instructions to two Ola High School
football players during a fireman carry, one of the
exercises in the Marine combat fitness test.
Photo by Alex Welch
In order to help his team
prepare for the upcoming season, head coach John Kovzel thought
bringing in a new workout would be beneficial for his players.
“It helps anytime you can get
a little bit of an edge in the summertime, instead of just lifting
weights,” said Kovzel. “The selling point for me was they come out
and talk about ethics, leadership and teamwork. It also gives them
another light to see what the Marine Corps does.”
Kovzel said he applied for
the program at the Glazier Clinic, a football coaching seminar that
was held in Atlanta earlier this year. The Marines from RSS
Jonesboro selected Ola as one of the school’s they would visit.
Sgt. Dominel Norwood was one
of three Marines teaching the team about different drills and
guiding them along throughout the two-hour workout. He said the
players saw what those enlisted experience on a regular basis.
“This is our combat fitness
test. We’ve got two tests; one is the physical fitness that consists
of pull-ups, crunches and a three-mile run,” said Norwood. “The
combat test is more thinking about possibly being under fire and
dealing with things that come with combat.”
The fitness test includes
army crawls, fireman carries, hauling ammo boxes and several other
rigorous activities. Norwood said the exercises gave the players a
chance to “see how we feel when we’re working out.”
Even with the torrid heat
bearing down, every player managed to finish the test. Kovzel said
he was proud of his group and the support they showed for each
other. Some players stayed for an hour after finishing the test just
to encourage the rest of the team with their attempts.
“They learned about teamwork,
and it brings us together a little bit tighter. Not one kid wanted
to leave early,” said Kovzel. “They all stayed to cheer on their
teammates. It was really huge for me as a head coach to see all the
kids stay and their parents cheer them on.”
After several hours of exercise, the Marines
talked to the players about teamwork, leadership and what being in
the military involves. Kovzel said two of his players stayed late to
discuss joining the service after high school.