By Charlie Crowley, Sports Editor
February is a weird month for sports. After the Super Bowl there is a sort of doldrum where any leagues going on are in the deep part of their regular season. Granted it’s not as bad as the MLB All Star break where sports talk is centered around the best places to play on Tuesdays but only when there’s rain coming down and a slight breeze from the north, but I digress. At the end of February is the NFL Scouting Combine, the event where top college players go to showcase their skills in preparation for the draft. I’ve always been intrigued by the combine because from the outside looking in, it’s a lot of agility and speed and strength. I have some of that. I can do this. It will be easy. Right?
Sheesh. Talk about a cakewalk, but only if the cake is on fire and you’re barefoot walking across Legos and broken glass. This is not for the faint of heart if you’re looking to push yourself and see if you’re better than a guy from a small school. Let’s see how much I suffered through what some experts deem “not actually needed to determine a good football player.”
I stand at six feet tall and about two hundred pounds. Granted there’s a decent amount of muscle on my body from playing hockey up until this year, but there’s also a decent amount of a college student diet on me as well. I consider myself in decent shape; I still hit the gym five to six times a week, and even manage to work out at least two of those times.
I started off with the 40 yard dash, the main event of the combine. You just sprint 40 yards, or in my case, sprint 30 yards and then decelerate through the last ten so you don’t pull something. I ran around five and a quarter seconds, which isn’t bad considering I’m not built for speed, distance, or any other sort of running or aerobic exercise.
I then entered the weight room for the bench press, where you perform as many reps at 225 pounds as possible. I then exited the weight room, since I cannot perform any reps of 225 pounds.
The jumping tests were the most fun for me because they require the least amount of strenuous effort. The vertical jump was a stretch for me, and I only managed to reach the top part of the net on a basketball hoop, which was my baseline. The broad jump was a little more favorable, and I managed not to pull, strain, snap, or break anything. That’s pretty good in my book.
My next tests were the three cone drill and 20 yard shuttle. The three cone drill is how fast you can consume three large ice cream cones. I did a pretty good job, finishing in less than seven minutes. I then found out that I was wrong and it is an agility test, so I respectfully declined to participate so that I didn’t see my ice cream again. The 20 yard shuttle was also put off to the side for the same reason.
All in all, I enjoyed my time pitting myself against the best college players in the world. Granted they have the chance to make millions of dollars playing football, but those NCAA commercials helped put in perspective that not all college athletes go pro – some just play for the love of the game and the chance to get paid zero dollars while the NCAA cashes in millions because of them. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need some ice for my legs, and a pizza for my stomach. Being an athlete is hard work.
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