MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–During the dog days of summer, many people lounge at the pool or go on family vacations. However, that isn’t the case for the West Virginia University football team.
The Mountaineers, like many other college athletic programs, spend hours in the weight room. As grueling as it can be, summer workouts serve a bigger purpose, team bonding.
“It’s been fun getting to know the new guys on the team, that’s also fun,” senior fullback Elijah Wellman said. “There are a lot of different people coming in that are new from different places. Team bonding and summer workouts are what it’s all about getting ready for the season.”
The camaraderie and trust built over the summer can be just as important come September.
“It’s very important,” Wellman said. “That’s one thing we stress. We have been doing team competitions where we have about 10 teams and they put random people together in certain categories. That’s how you get to know some guys that you don’t normally mess around with not around football. Myself, I have made a couple of new friendships just through that and team bonding. That’s something that we strive for. That brings a team together to win games when you are counting on that dude next to you and trusting that guy. It’s very important.”
For the familiar faces, that is easy but now they must build new relationships with the new ones.
“We have a lot of guys that it is their first time on campus. A lot of guys that it is their first time having to really contribute to what we are trying to do,” senior linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton said. “Everyone is developing that trust. Everybody is getting that love for each other. This is the time of the year, that in a few days the coaches will be gone and it will be just us and then you really see how much of a family you are. When you are the guys that have to run everything. When you are the guys that have to run the meetings, the guys that have to make sure that everyone is here on time. It is definitely peaking right now.”
When it is time for battle, it is important for everyone to know that their “brothers” have their backs.