by Rowyn van Miltenburg and Lark Breen
National and World Editors
Hell Week – the notorious week before school when fall sport practices start, and apparently so does the athletes’ descent into Hell. Athletes are known to spend these grueling days conditioning for the season ahead, as well as bonding with teammates and making new friends before school starts. Here’s a rundown of this year’s Hell Week:
To get ready to play under those Friday night lights, the football team had more practices than most teams this time around. Hell Week was Wednesday through Saturday for the team this year. Their Hell Week started with a “lift-a-thon” on Wednesday from five to eight in the evening. The team’s practices continued on Thursday from one to five thirty, on Friday from three to five thirty, and concluded on Saturday with a nine to four thirty practice. Freshman Tim Yun attended these practices for his first time this year. When asked what will benefit him most he said, “[Practices] will help me physically, because part of what makes a good football team is if they are in better shape than the other team. Especially in that fourth quarter when it is tough, physically, to keep going.”
Photos credit Tim Yun
While the Girls’ team doesn’t technically have a Hell Week, Senior Kyra Knauer said, “I consider the first week our Hell Week.” The tennis team’s practices were three hours each day – twice as long as a regular season practice – giving that first week of practice a “Hell Week” type feel. Although this Hell Week is a little unorthodox, the athletes reap the same benefits as any other sport would. When Knauer was asked what helped prepare the team for the season ahead she said, “Fitness stations made us get back in shape before the season.”
Girls Water Polo:
The Girls Water Polo team had three practices this Hell Week. They started with two Friday practices: a nine to ten practice in the morning and another practice starting at noon, going until two in the afternoon. Their last practice was from ten to one on Saturday. When comparing a Hell Week practice to a regular practice junior Mikaela Hand said, “We did a lot of dryland, which in a school season workout, we don’t often do.” Hand went on to add, “I think the practices help with our teamwork because we have never played together as a team before.”
Boys Water Polo:
This year the Boys Water Polo team’s Hell Week started with a practice from two to five thirty on the Friday before school and a one thirty to three thirty practice on the following Saturday. Along with the five and a half hours of practice in the final days of summer, the varsity boys voted for their team captains, Sam Lewis and John Parsons. The boys also met their new coach, Sasha Potulnitsky. When asked how a Hell Week practice compares to a typical practice junior Steven Ho said, “the practices were longer than usual, so we put a little more work in than we were used to.”
Field Hockey’s Hell Week is infamous for hard sprints and long runs, but the hard work allows the team to grow closer through their pain. The team went through double days on Aug 18 and 19, from seven to nine in the morning and from two to five in the afternoon. Their weekend was full of “sprints, runs, working on skills, and bonding as a team over pasta and dancing,” recalls sophomore Sanna Hakkarainen. In addition to team skits and dances, the field hockey seniors showed a video to introduce the freshmen to the team, which you can watch here. The summer training is named “hell” accurately, but all classic heroes must descend into Hell before returning to find great success: in this case, blowing competition out of the water and eventually winning CCS.
Photo Credit: Melina Moore, Keats Iwanaga, Angie Cucco
The dance team is sometimes overlooked in the shadow of other, higher profile sports, but the team works extremely hard to perfect their dances, starting during their own Hell Week. On Aug. 4-8, the dance team practiced for six to seven hours, learning new dances for football games and spirit rallies, receiving instruction from several guest choreographers, and attending technique, yoga, and pilates classes.