As the veterans take off for break, us rookies get to take part in an orientation called Rookie Week. This week consists of meetings, charity events, and exploring new areas of St Louis with lunches and socials. Now it wasn't all fun and games, we had hard off-season workouts and conditioning every morning to start out the day. These were harder than normal, because we didn't have to save our legs for practice. Also with the break just around the corner, there is always a tension between the players and the strength coach. As players we get a little restless and it is harder to focus which doesn't mix well with coaches that know this tendency and are on edge, ready to jump on top of the problem. This has always been the case since I was in high school, and continues to be the case today. Rock warned us that last year on the last day before the break he had to punish the rookies because of this and pretty much ran them into the ground. Well it came close to happening again, but we pushed through and remained focused enough to have a great week of work.
After a good hard workout, the next thing you want to do as a player is go sit in information meetings! Well maybe not too exciting but we did get some good presentations on financial/credit help, NFLPA, highway patrol, drug, and legal information. While all the players might not pay attention, I try and gain all the knowledge I can to help me out in the future. I always learn something new! We are blessed to have the team offer free services to us to help us out in these areas that our new to us. The funnest part of the week was in the afternoon with the charity events, seeing the city, and social events. They wanted to take us to new parts of the city and also get some team building time in, so we went to eat as a team at Blueberry Hill and Scape. Blueberry Hill was awesome to see the history put into that place with all the pictures of famous people on the wall. It also was a good time playing games, and teaching Barrett Jones how to play darts... by beating him. Scape was a more modern place and the best food I have had in St Louis so far! These were great lunches in two areas that I have not been to so far, but will definitely be back.
The two charity events we got to participate in were the Rams Training Academy and TASK (Team Activities for Special Kids) Bowling event. The training academy was fun interacting with the community and playing football with the kids. I ended up helping with a tackling drill where they went through cones and tackled a dummy. Man kids get intense and their faces and tactics are priceless! The funniest was when I was trying to get creative with the drill. I had them back peddle to a cone where the dummy was, then break downhill to swat the receiver out of the way and make the interception. While I was explaining it one of the kids says, "isn't that pass interference?!" Lol, don't you hate smart kids... well he was technically right and I had to just tell them to go around the dummy without touching him. We ended the day with signing autographs. For the bowling event, each player was assigned a lane along with some TASK athletes. The picture shown above was my lane with Katie (who won), Megan, Colin, and Andrew. They were all fun to bowl with and I enjoyed the time with them and their families. I really connected with Colin as he was the outgoing one and very funny also. He showed off his muscles after he made a good bowl, and later he showed them to the cheerleaders coming around! It was a fun time and hopefully I will get a chance to be with the TASK athletes again. We ended the week with a young professionals social at the Missouri History Museum where we got to network with people our age outside of football. I actually met a woman who works with a company here in town that makes reality TV shows, one of which I watch (Fast N Loud)! I thought that was pretty cool and we also got to see the Pro Football Hall of Fame exhibit.
Overall this week was a fun experience and we were provided with some great opportunities and information that will help us out in this transition into the NFL. We now have a four week break before training camp, which I will use to go back to Texas to continue working out and visit family. It is hard to believe that I won't be a short drive away from family after this break and will hopefully be starting my new life in St Louis. But for now I will enjoy this time off and can't wait to see my family, until next time!
-Student of the Game