Jul. 5—As the mandatory stoppage in activities comes to an end, high school teams are eager to once again get back to business.
The Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association dead period — which started June 26 — ended on Monday, allowing players and coaches to return to their locker rooms and facilities as they prepare for the start of the 2021-2022 academic year.
Many coaches from around the area talked about their summers so far, which have included workouts, conditioning, seven-on-sevens, and more.
Teams have also been offered the option to take advantage of the new team camp rules from the OSSAA, which stated that teams could add an extra summer camp if they opted out of spring football. However, some still chose to go with the spring ball option.
No matter which option was chosen, coaches and players have been hard at work for many weeks now.
"It's been going pretty good," McAlester coach Forrest Mazey said. "Just trying to get back going and get ready."
More commonly known as "summer pride," area teams have been coming together with one goal — prepare for the upcoming season.
Teams have also been heavily involved in their towns and cities, and carried out community service.
One example is the Buffs, who continued the tradition of placing flags on the gravesides of fallen soldiers to help honor them for Memorial Day.
Savanna coach Taylor Barr saw his Bulldogs lending their time after a day of workouts, helping to keep their city and community looking its very best.
Another one of those teams is Wilburton, which not only strengthened their bodies but community involvement as well as they helped to spread fresh mulch on the school's elementary playground.
Coach Jeff Marshall said things have been going well in the weight room as well, and he is excited to continue those efforts.
"We've been working hard in our summer pride. (We had) a little rest here, and then back at it," Marshall said.
As the season draws ever nearer, keeping to the grindstone has been an important key in building before the first whistle is ever blown. The sentiment can be felt from the largest schools all the way down to the smaller classes.
"We've just been staying busy, working on getting better," Canadian coach Wesley Jackson said.
Teams will be continuing their summer prides throughout the month of July. While other sports such as fast-pitch softball, fall baseball, volleyball, and cross country will begin organized practices in just a few weeks, football will have to wait just a little bit longer.
Limited practices are set to begin Aug. 9, and teams will strap up in full pads on Aug. 13. From there, it will be a two week dash to organize and be ready for those teams — like McAlester — who will opening the regular season on zero week.
"It'll be here before we know it," Mazey said.
Contact Derek Hatridge at firstname.lastname@example.org.