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Ronde Barber on Training Camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Kenneth Pordon of NFL.com referred me to a story written by Vic Carucci of NFL.com detailing Tampa Bay Buccaneers CB Ronde Barber’s experience in Training Camp as a Veteran. Here’s a couple snippets from the piece:

"Training camp is a time to reestablish yourself. You do that in minicamps and OTAs and everything else during the offseason, but you don't get a real feel for your team or where you're going to be on your team until training camp." – Ronde Barber

"You have to get yourself in a training-camp frame of mind. You go from being a full-fledged adult, paying taxes and everything else, to having to be in bed at 11 o'clock at night and in your room 15 minutes before that. It does somewhat belittle you to be put into that state. It builds camaraderie among the team to have everybody on the same page, so in that respect, it's definitely worth it. Would I like to go home and sleep in my bed every night? Of course, but I understand the need for the camp regimen." – Ronde Barber

"Anybody is lying if they say they like getting up and going to that first practice of the day, because it's impossible. Your body is taxed from the day before. You're doing your damndest all night long and, really, that next morning to re-hydrate yourself, if you're smart. If you're not, you're sitting with an IV in your arm after practice. It's a stress on your body and it's hard to get up in the morning. The alarm clock goes off way too early every morning of camp. For me, that's 6:55 a.m." – Ronde Barber

"Jon Gruden likes to create a competitive atmosphere in camp. At some point, during whatever we're doing he'll just break a period and we'll go right into a one-on-one session between the O-line and D-line. We form a big circle, and everyone is cheering the respective sides. I like having a competitive atmosphere in training camp. It's essential for the growth of your team to build something amongst the units. If you don't have it, then you just lackadaisically go through camp and go through the motions and run your plays. It's boring." – Ronde Barber

"Training camp is unique for guys in Florida. We're going to Orlando, where it's stifling because there's no gulf breeze. We go right in the middle of the damn state, where the air is still and it's humid. You see a lot of young guys, and even some veteran guys who we bring in, that just don't know how to prepare themselves for dealing with the heat every day. When you think about it, there's definitely some irony in having training camp at Disney World. Sure, there are some fun aspects of camp, but in reality, we're going to Disney to work and everybody else is going there to vacation." – Ronde Barber

"The worst part of training camp is being away from home. That's the best part, too. You get a chance to separate yourself from your day-to-day life, and, if you're one of the good ones, you get to do something that you really love to do. It attaches all of your focus to it, and that's pretty cool. Training camp is when you really get to know your environment and understand your coaches, because that's when you really get to spend time with them and find out how you relate to them." – Ronde Barber

This story is definitely a must read for those interested in what day to day life is like as a NFL Player attending Training Camp. The stuff on Rookie Hazing is pretty interesting as well. Ronde also talks about how he and Tiki would share stories about their Training Camp experiences. A hat tip to Kenny for the link…