The Oglethorpe Men’s Basketball team recently traveled to St. Simon’s Island for training camp prior to the start of the 2011-2012 season. As senior Andrew Steioff reports, the accommodations weren’t glamorous (an old church camp ground), but the group had the chance to become a team during practice and through volunteering.
Training Camp for 2011-2012 was riddled with surprises from the get- go, many of which were never expected from my teammates and me. The first [surprise] was the actual destination where training camp would be held. Guesses ranged from Macon to Ft. Lauderdale to a prestigious college campus to various military bases, all of which were far from the actual destination—which we all tried relentlessly to squeeze out of Coach Tulowitzky.
Then the real surprise came: Coach Ponder informed us that we had five minutes to send out our last text messages and calls because all of our cell phones were going to be collected for the duration of the trip. Needless to say, the whole team instantly went into a state of shock and panic. The whole drive to our mystery destination (which took approximately 6 hours of sheer agony) was full of guesses and memorable moments. Eventually we arrived at our destination on St. Simon’s Island. When we walked into our cabin, we realized our nightmare of boot camp was going to come true as far as living conditions were concerned: icy cold tile floors, steel framed bunk beds, and cots that seemed to be filled with used cotton balls. It was safe to say the mood was anything but joyous.
That night all the players met privately to discuss our team goals and what we expected from our season and what needed to be done on our end to make sure we reached these goals this season. The next morning brought us to the first practice of the year. We were all anxious to finally get on the court after a long off season of conditioning and shooting. It was nice to see the new guys getting after it as much as the returning players.
After practice we hosted a basketball clinic at a local Boys and Girls Club. We set it as an objective every year to give back to the community. Each player volunteers at the boys and girls club of Brookhaven for at least 10 hours every preseason. We participate in various activities with the children at the Brookhaven Club from helping the kids with homework, to shooting pool, to playing on the playground. It always feels nice to give back to your community especially when they are some of our rowdiest fans.
We finished the day with our second practice which consisted of more shooting and incorporation of our offense. The next morning we woke up sore and exhausted. It was nice to see what our team was made of in the early stages of the season. On our way out of town we stopped by historic Fort Frederica where James Edward Oglethorpe defended the colony of Georgia against the Spanish, and fought the Battle of Bloody Marsh. It was neat to walk on the same ground as one of the first towns ever to be constructed in Georgia. Overall, the trip was a great way to integrate our team mixed with newcomers and veterans. We made some great memories as a team and established a new attitude to start our quest towards a 2012 SCAC Championship.
Top photo: The OU Men’s Basketball Team is pictured at historic Fort Frederica where James Edward Oglethorpe defended the colony of Georgia against the Spanish and fought the Battle of Bloody Marsh. Each year the Battle is commemorated on the Oglethorpe campus in the form of a tug-of-war contest on the quad between the students and the faculty and staff. Bottom photo: Last year’s team volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club.