MESA, AZ - It was on July 31, well over 100 degrees and 65 Mountain View Toros went through 12 hours of Hell some would say.
“I was trying to give these kids a little bit more of an understanding that they can do 20 times more than they think they can, but how do I create that experience?” asked head football coach, Chad DeGrenier.
Well, he invited the Navy SEALs to the school’s campus in east Mesa.
“I was nervous for sure,” said Chase Funk, a senior wide receiver. “I was like, okay, I don’t know what’s gonna happen. You know, when you think of Navy SEALs, you look on the internet and you see the videos that they go through… When they told us we were doing Seal Fit, we went on YouTube and we looked up Seal Fit and we saw all these evolutions that these guys went through and we were like, ‘okay, we’re gonna end up doing this and it’s gonna be crazy.’”
After a classroom orientation, the players headed to the field and that’s when it hit them.
“As soon as you come around the corner, there’s 15 guys yelling and screaming at you and spraying you with hoses in your faces. You drop down and you start Army crawling on concrete,” said Funk. “I just looked over at my teammate and started kind of laughing. Okay, this might be fun. But after about ten minutes, you’re like, ‘okay, this is the worst thing I’ve ever done.”
“I was pretty excited though, and nervous at the same time though too,” said Erick Eckstein, Mountain View’s senior linebacker.
12 hours later and 65 players emerged closer as a team. They’d accomplished something no other high school football team in Arizona has done.
“It’s a transformation of what they believe is possible. They had that belief out there but it was just a figment of their imagination. They really do now believe in each other,” said DeGrenier.
“There’s no other high school in the state of Arizona that’s done this and has experienced this. And it kind of gives us that upper edge and it also kind of brought us all together,” added Funk.
Eckstein looks back and wonders, “How did we do that? We didn’t think it was possible, like, we just thought it was gonna be so hard, but we finally figured out that we can actually do 20 times more than we expect.”
The Mountain View football team came out of the blocks, beating Boulder Creek in week one, 24-19. But for Funk, it was well worth the effort, even before week one’s win. “It’s awesome and it was crazy, but it was a great, awesome experience.”
DeGrenier summed it up, “They definitely earned the right to wear a Mountain View jersey on Friday night.”
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