Ian MacDonald – Staff Writer
Football has one of the shortest regular seasons of all sports. This is especially true for college athletics, where football has only ten guaranteed regular season games every year.
Dordt University’s regular season puts football players’ bodies through enough wear and tear that coaches give players a time to recover towards the middle of the season. This is called the “bye week.”
Bye week still consists of practices, but no Saturday game.
Practice focus is one big difference between bye weeks and regular weeks. Practices in a normal week emphasize both physical and mental aspects of the game. During the bye week, practices have a much stronger mental emphasis.
There are fewer practices, more walkthroughs, and an extreme focus on details of the game.
It’s important to take a bye week so that everyone has proper recovery time for the second half of the season, according to Drew Daum, a football captain at Dordt.
“Football is such a physical sport that the farther you get into the season we get worn down and injuries start to creep in,” Daum said. “[Bye week] allows you to finish off the remainder of the season with your body feeling good.”
Practices during the bye week also give the players more free-time to relax, with all required football activities ending on Thursday morning.
Since Aug. 11, football players have only Sundays off of practices, games, or lifts. That is, until bye week comes. What exactly players do with time off football varies.
Daum spent his free time going to Lincoln, Nebraska, to watch the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Watching the sport for leisure differed from regularly studying Defender’s opponents.
“It’s important to be watching film and keeping your head in the game,” Daum said. “But I took a little time off from that and allowed myself to not stress and worry about it as much.”
Eric Gustafson, another football player at Dordt, returned home to Ethan, South Dakota, to spend time with family and wind down over the long weekend.
Watching football remained a common theme throughout the team over the break. Gustafson watched his high school play Friday night football, college football on Saturday, and finished off with the NFL on Sunday.
Even though he spent a lot of his time watching football, Gustafson still liked getting out of the house and moving around a bit.
“I played with my dog and worked on the farm,” Gustafson said. “Getting my mind and body off of the game was directly beneficial.”
Breaks in the football season do not come often, so bye week continues to be a time to recover and relax for these Defenders.
Photo credit: Drew Daum