Team Stays Active During Quarantine

Zack Bowman. junior, performs the “15 for Joe” pushup challenge during the stay-at-home order.

Media by Zack Bowman

Zack Bowman. junior, performs the “15 for Joe” pushup challenge during the stay-at-home order.

Even though the first official football practice is three months away, junior Zack Bowman, linebacker, knows putting in offseason work is essential for success on the field – even if that work must be done amidst the first U.S. pandemic since 1918.

“During a time like this, the best thing to do is exercise,” Bowman said. “It helps get your mind off all the stress and craziness in the world right now and can give you a sense of normalcy.”

One of the many challenges COVID-19 presents athletes is the lack of access to gyms. This has forced many athletes to be creative with their workouts due to the lack of items such as squat racks and free weights.

“My typical daily workout plan consists of me finding things to use around my house that can simulate getting a workout in a gym,” Bowman said. “I will typically use my resistance bands for any type of weight lifting movements, and I will always mix in some bodyweight movements with each exercise.”

Bowman said he is motivated to workout everyday because he knows it’s necessary to improve on the field and it’s easy to stay motivated because he enjoys the workouts and has been active since he was little.

Bowman added that team manager, Joe Porcelli, sophomore, has given the team a spark during these difficult times by creating a challenge to do 15 pushups each day.

“Joe has shown us that there really is no excuse to not be working out during these times, and that no matter what, Joe is just as determined to get better and stronger just like the rest of us on the team,” Bowman said.

Joe has shown us that there really is no excuse to not be working out during these times, and that no matter what, Joe is just as determined to get better and stronger just like the rest of us on the team.”

— Zack Bowman

Porcelli said the challenge began by taking a video of himself doing pushups and posting it on Twitter. From there, the video kept on being retweeted and players felt compelled to share their own workout videos. He said their support helps to keep him focused on his own fitness goals.

“Because I’m their waterboy, they care about me and want me to succeed on and off the field,” Porcelli said.

Porcelli also said his relationship with the players has helped the team to stay united even while separated.

“We’re like family,” Porcelli said. “We always help and look out for each other, since we used to hang out almost every day.”

Michael Stewart, head football coach, said the team’s relationship with Porcelli has always been helpful for both of them but even more so under current circumstances. Stewart said this relationship and other team activities such as online Madden tournaments have helped to keep the team bonded.

Although the current situation isn’t ideal for exercise, Stewart said he and the other coaches are providing helpful at-home workouts each week.

“It was something the coaches wanted all athletes to be able to use while at home to stay in shape,” Stewart said. “The goal is to develop the workouts without needing any equipment from the weight facility in order to accomplish each movement.”

Stewart also said it’s important athletes get their heart rate up during the workouts to be as productive as possible. He added that the workouts can serve multiple purposes by benefiting individuals physically, but also by helping to limit stress and anxiety brought upon by the current situation.

Stewart said while he’s happy athletes are getting work in on their own, he is still looking forward to the day when everyone can workout together.

“We want all of our athletes and students to know that we care about them and want them to stay safe, but also be productive during these difficult times,” Stewart said.