There aren’t any palm trees, ocean waves or sandy beaches. But the Denver South Rebels love South Beach.
“This is heaven,” Denver South junior Martin Jiple said. “This is our home.”
No, not that South Beach, the glistening paradise in Miami Beach that probably comes to mind. This “South Beach” involves a whole lot less relaxing by the water, and lot more hard, gritty work. It’s the unconventional workout home of the Denver South High School football team this summer.
“We try to simulate as many football and weight lifting movements out on the field with what he had to work with,” first-year head coach Ryan Marini said.
Here’s what the team didn’t have to work with: an indoor weight room. The school is under construction over the summer, which means the Rebels had to get creative to get in shape before the season starts this fall.
They decided to move workouts outdoors, and transformed their practice field into an intense high-level training facility.
“From day one, these kids have been really motivated,” Marini said. “They love football. And, what we’re trying to do, is have them push each other through tough things to make them better people as well.”
The team has traded in bench press and dead lifts for things like tire flips, slosh tubes, ropes and bar bells — all in the hot Colorado sun. On most mornings, you can add an additional seven to ten degrees — the Rebels practice on turf.
“This is our weight room now,” Senior Quarterback Brandon Martin said. “The whole field is. We just use this to our advantage, to get better.”
Despite the heat and tough workload, you won’t hear any complaining from any of the players. They want to be out on South Beach, and they make sure to encourage every single person to keep going through it all.
“When you have your teammates behind you, it kind of gets you through it,” Senior Hassan El-Amin said. “At the end of the day, not a lot of people want to finish their last sets, so your teammates give you that extra motivation.”
After a tough loss in the 4A State Quarterfinals last season, the team is hoping that all this work will pay off big time on the field this year.
“I want it to end with winning a championship,” Denver South Senior Quayshawn Dubose said. “I want to just go out with a bang.”