By Nick Hansen
Independent File Photo
Marshall quarterback Brad Bahlmann rolls out and looks for a receiver during practice
earlier this week.
MARSHALL- Leadership begins in the weightroom for the Marshall Tigers Football team.
Over the course of the summer, the team's fourteen seniors led teams of underclassman in their offseason weight lifting programs.
This is a chance for the Tigers to bulk up, gain some leadership skills, and welcome in the new players. "All of the seniors are in charge. It helps us connect to the freshman."We can give them rides. We can make sure they are in the weight room getting their work done. It's a good program to build from the bottom up," said senior fullback Jack Bock.
The team holds a "Draft Night" party in the middle of May where the rising seniors pick their teams for the summer.
The teams can do their workout any time while Marshall High School weight room is open during the summer.
Each team consisted of seven or eight players. The program takes about one hour to complete each day. "We basically had teams to hold each other accountable," said Bock.
There are incentives as well.
"Whoever gets the most guys to show up on consecutive days gets a day off from conditioning," said Bock.
Senior Aaron Polejewski's team won with having shown up a combined 220 days in a row over the course of the summer.
The team has done this tradition for a while and everyone seems to be on board.
"The seniors love it. They wait for their chance to be in charge. We want our freshman to feel welcome," said Coach Terry Bahlmann.
The welcoming narrative is a stark contrast to some high schools were hazing takes place.
It is difficult to quantify how many high school athletes are hazed every year, these sorts of incidents are routinely in the news across the U.S.
There were recent hazing investigations at high schools in Vermont, Missouri, and California. Hazing becomes even more in athletics programs at universities.
The Tigers believe that this sort of off-season team building can only help come football season. "Everyone just gets in there and helps each other out," said Bock.