SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – School starts at Grant High School on Thursday, but class is already in session here for the football team.
Soon they’ll be trying to get 100 percent on their exams, but right now players are trying to beat the 100-degree heat during four-hour practices.
In a game built on size, speed and toughness, it’s a new reality. Needing water is no longer a sign of weakness.
“They drink, get fluids, go back, do a couple more sessions, come back, get fluids,” said legendary Grant coach Mike Alberghini.
But times have changed.
“The old days, you know, I can remember we didn’t worry too much about it,” he said.
In fact, some coaches in the old days used to deny their players water to “toughen them up.”
Now, the coaches at Grant keep a close eye on the temperature, knowing the hot sun can be every bit, if not more dangerous than a hard hit on the field.
There are designated water breaks built into each practice and coaches make sure each player takes a drink.
“You have the breaks set,” Alberghini said. “People can’t just wander off to get water. If a kid’s struggling a little bit, he can say something and we’ll take care of it.”
But football remains a game for tough guys. One player admitted that even if he needs a break, he’ll keep it to himself rather than risk showing any weakness.
“We don’t want to let them know, we don’t want to show weakness,” he said. “Just have heart.”