Monday, 23 March 2020 14:24

Raiders staying connected through social media, push-ups

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Started by QB coach Jay Jones (second from right), the Raiders are staying connected through the #Fearless50 challenge. Started by QB coach Jay Jones (second from right), the Raiders are staying connected through the #Fearless50 challenge. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

ROCKINGHAM — The Richmond Senior High School football team has gotten pretty good at practicing its social distancing.

Finding light amid the recent changes surrounding high school athletics and day-to-day life, the Raiders are staying in touch via social media and the #Fearless50 push-up challenge.

Started by quarterback coach Jay Jones, the workout took over Twitter as Richmond teammates and coaches, as well as players from other schools, answered each other’s challenges of completing 50 push-ups and posting a video of them doing so.

“I just wanted to keep guys connected with each other and give them something practical they could do to stay in shape,” Jones said. 

“I decided to call it the #Fearless50 because there is a lot of fear right now concerning our current situation,” he continued. “And I believe we need to live in faith and not fear.”

Jones started the competition on Saturday, posting a video of his workout to his Twitter account. He tagged head coach Bryan Till, junior quarterback Caleb Hood, freshman running back Brandon Askins, former player Dante Miller and University of Georgia strength coach Scott Sinclair.

From there, the #Fearless50 bounced around from player to player, including sophomores Gabe Altman, Jamari Broady and JD Lampley, juniors Caleb Davis, Jaleel Davis, Turner Howell and Lance Wilson, as well as coaches Brad Denson, James Johnson and Kemp McSween, among others.

While the Raiders are staying fit during the time that spring practices should be underway, Till noted a benefit of the challenge is helping keep his players connected. 

“We are all trying our best to stay connected with our players and the challenge is at least letting us see each other's faces,” Till explained. “It’s very easy to talk about how sports help prepare us for challenges later in life, to build character, but now is a chance to show it.  

“We want to continue to throw little challenges at our kids to keep them in the mindset of being overcomers,” he added. “Much of the country is dealing with challenges that are much greater than 50 pushups.  In order to face these, we want constant reminders that we can overcome if we work at it.”  

Till, who is in his fourth offseason as the Raiders’ head coach, pointed to how the push-up challenge also “serves as a distraction and a getaway from our problems, if even for a few seconds.”

Another benefit of the upper body workout that both Jones and Till noted was how it lets players know that their coaches are thinking about them throughout the current trials and tribulations of COVID-19.

Governor Roy Cooper announced Monday that all North Carolina schools will be closed through May 15, which puts the football team’s spring training campaign on hold for almost another two months. During that time, the Raiders will turn to online resources to stay ready.

“We are using Canvas to do several things for our guys, like posting workouts and checking their activity logs,” Till said of the online learning management platform. “We are posting the spring install for both offense and defense.

“And we are working on some Zoom conferences for our Leadership Development group so that we can continue to meet and talk while maintaining our distance from each other,” he closed. “As coaches, we are continuing to brainstorm ways we can help our kids and we love new ideas.”

Kyle Pillar

Sports Editor. IUP communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

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