Xenia, OH --
The Xenia High School football team, known as “The Buccaneers”, are now ready to start their upcoming season after receiving a visit from their local Marine Corps recruiters during a leadership seminar conducted at Xenia High School in Xenia, Ohio, July 31.
The seminar, which was led by Marines from Recruiting Station Charleston, consisted of a morning classroom portion, followed by a physical training circuit course in the afternoon, which included events such as kettle bell swings, tire flips and fireman’s carry runs.
Xenia High has a long standing tradition of football; the team has been active since 1899. After a tough 2013 season, Coach Bob Delong was open to the idea of having his players learn from the Marines.
“The program fits perfects with what we do,” said Delong. “We have a virtue program and try to teach characteristics that are similar to the virtues the Marines teach and live by. Who better to learn these characteristics from, because (the Marines) live by them and have a history these kids know and respect.”
The first portion of the seminar was in the classroom, where the Marines gave guided discussions on topics such as Marine Corps leadership traits, principles and teamwork, often drawing comparisons between being on a football team and being part of a Marine Corps unit. At various points the Marines would have the players break into small groups where they would discuss each class with a Marine participating and guiding the discussion.
After the class, the Marines conducted the physical portion of the seminar. Remaining in their six-man discussion groups, the players had to go through the circuit course in the humid summer heat. Many of the course events were team orientated, such as having objects of different weight the players took turns carrying, or items such as tires, which were too heavy for one individual to maneuver alone. Each group was timed, putting them into competition with other groups, and no player was allowed to advance until every participant in their group had completed the event. At the end of the event, each team was given their time for the event, with the 1st place team being recognized by the Marines and receiving Marine Corps t-shirts.
Running back and corner back Khalil Capers, a senior at Xenia High School, said the leadership seminar helped build the team.
“(The seminar) helped us build our teamwork,” said Capers. “We learned the steps to becoming a leader, and focusing on things like dependability are important. For a football team, you need dependable people on your team to succeed.”