When high school football programs go away for summer training camps, they usually pick idyllic or cool locations. Cape Cod will usually fit both of those categories, but it suddenly didn't over the weekend with Hurricane Irene bearing down on the East Coast.
Left with a decision between trying to race back to the more in-land Reading, Mass., or stick out the storm at a local emergency shelter, Reading (Mass.) Austin Preparatory School football coach Bill Maradei chose the latter, moving all 60 members of the Austin Prep varsity program into Yarmouth-Dennis (Mass.) High School on Saturday, where they stayed for two days until the storm passed.
According to both the Associated Press and Boston Globe, Austin Prep's coaches and players were unable to leave the school's shelter facilities in the gym and cafeteria for two full days; the one time the Cougars tried to get outside to stretch on Sunday morning, dangerous winds kicked up sand all around them, forcing the squad back inside.
"You know what this is? It's an adventure," Maradei told the Globe. "It's the first time I've ever had to do this.
"The kids are safer here than anywhere else."
With the storm past, Maradei and his team are back practicing outdoors, nearing the completion of their scheduled summer training camp. In the meantime, the Cougars can suddenly lean back on a wealth of video study after spending a majority of their two days inside watching footage from the squad's 2010 campaign in the Yarmouth-Dennis school auditorium.
Of course, like many others on the East Coast, the team is also suddenly much more familiar with the Weather Channel, too. Throughout Maradei's interview with the Globe, his entire team watched the Weather Channel for the latest updates on Irene in the background.
After an afternoon session following the passage of the storm when the Cougars finally made it outside to walk through their formations in the Yarmouth-Dennis High parking lot, the team is ready to get back into action. That's the case for both working out on the Cape and getting the 2011 season off and running.
"We want to get back in action," Maradei told the Globe.