HTFU Day 2

January 15, 2012Byron Henry

The final day of winter camp started with the usual 7:30 wake up, breakfast, and yoga. After that, though, the coaches had a unique and challenging day prepared for the players. The morning session began at perhaps the only hill in South Bend. Somehow, even in the flatlands of Northern Indiana, the coaches managed to find a hill to keep the challenges unique for the boys with “Hills and Skills.” Alternating between fitness on the hill and ball skill sessions in the snow, the morning helped ensure that the players remained focus on the final day. The combination of a fitness work out and rugby skills also helped prepare the team to be ready for the last crucial minutes of a tight rugby game where the team is now confident they will have the upper hand. As sophomore Rob Mungia put it, “the snow hills and ball work was cool, and it really showed the team’s true grit.”

After returning to campus, Coach Neil MacDonald led the players on a jog to the Grotto, where they took time to speak to Our Lady about whatever was on their mind near the end of camp. Junior David Penberthy described the experience as “a nice chance to take a step back and remind the team what representing Notre Dame is about.” After the emotional experience, the team was lead back to the Rock by newcomer, freshman Alex Wray showing just how much the team has come together so quickly. Senior Chris “Sparky” Pesigan and David Penberthy commented how much they enjoyed getting to know the younger and newer player. David also mentioned that “it brought a smile to my face to see the passion our new players have for the game.”

The second session of the day and last session of camp was held in a whole new environment. The team went to the Rolfs Aquatic Center for a workout in the pool. Professor Meredith Chesson, a former water polo player, led the team through a grueling water polo work out testing the many of the players far more mentally than they had been tested all camp. Junior and newcomer Greg Allare noticed that the toughest part of the session was the unfamiliarity with being in water and added that it proved the team could be successful when they were unsure about themselves. Overall the swim session turned out to be a huge motivational boost for the team as no one gave into their worries about their personal swimming abilities.

The day was brought to a close as the team was spoiled with a delicious prime rib dinner and a large cake with the words “Well Done” written across it. Coaches then announced, to cheers, that the purposed hill session for Sunday morning had been canceled and the last day of camp would end with yoga and a meeting. They also told the team that they had designed this year’s camp to be much harder than last year, which came as a surprise to many of the players and was attributed to the excellent condition they came into camp in.

New players were thankful for the experience as junior and newcomer Joe Vanderberg said that he believes he was able to learn more about rugby in this week than he would ever been able to be. He also added that he almost wished the team had another day of HTFU because he believes mental toughness is something often overlooked but that was a big almost. The team then celebrated the final day of HTFU and camp by remembering some of their favorite moments during the week. Memorable moments varied from Gerg Allare remembering the rug burns he received while doing the body weight workout in the hotel’s ballroom to junior Ryan Mitchell enjoying the chance to work on real game situations early in the week to junior Dominic Corsaro appreciating time to spend with friends while doing something they all loved.