Players preparing for season at Bulldog Days
Baldwin High School football players are helping Bulldog Days reach its ultimate goal of 100 participants in a single session.
Bulldog Days, which began two years ago as a spin off of Lawrence's Red Dog Days, has grown each summer. The group has already seen an increase in attendance this summer, thanks to several BHS football players.
"It's been going tremendous," co-organizer Mike Everett said. "We've had a couple of nights where we've had close to 40 people. The main thing is we are getting high school football players and athletes to show up."
Bulldog Days meets at 6 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It also meets at 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Each session is held at Baker University's Liston Stadium.
The ultimate goal for co-organizers George McCrary and Everett is to reach the century mark.
"We'd like to get at least 100 people in one given night before the summer is up," Everett said. "We need to start thinking about getting it done pretty quick."
Bulldog Days will continue through the middle of September.
The BHS players began showing up several weeks ago. As many as 25 Bulldogs have shown up to take part in the 30-minute workout.
Many of the players are using Bulldog Days for summer conditioning before the season starts in August.
"It's good just to come every night and get a 30-minute workout in," BHS senior Zach Durr said. "It really helps a lot during the summer. Hopefully, it will get me in shape for football season."
One dedicated Bulldog is BHS senior Ryan Moore. He has attended approximately 20 sessions during the summer. Despite the many distractions, including the swimming pool and air conditioning, Moore has become a staple at Bulldog Days.
"I am enjoying it," Moore said. "It's tough, though. It isn't a walk in the park. It's about dedication during the summer. Of course, you could do a lot more fun things than Bulldog Days, but it's about coming out here and proving to myself I can do this."
He hopes these summer workouts will help the team during the fall season. He is confident that will happen.
"It really helps our team, because we are lifting every day and doing this at night," Moore said. "It helps that much more. We have started having a team session every Monday and Wednesday. I think Bulldog Days will have a big part in the outcome of our season."
Moore knows the Bulldogs' ultimate goal for the season will be to win the Class 4A state title. He is working hard this summer so he can help the team in the fall when they take the field on Friday nights.
"This is the first year that I am trying to be a bigger part of the team," Moore said. "I am trying to do my part to get the team to where we ultimately want to go, which is the state championship."
The BHS players have helped increase the numbers recently. When the sessions started in May, less than a handful of people were attending, according to McCrary.
"It's been going very well," McCrary said. "We are getting more participants out and more families out. It starts off a little slow in May. It's fun when you work out with 20 people instead of four."
If participants attend Bulldog Days 15 times, they receive a free t-shirt. Durr said he is working toward that goal, but knows his time is limited with football camp next week and practice starting in mid-August.
"That's my plan, but it's going to be pretty hard," Durr said of receiving a free shirt. "We only have so many days left. I just need to keep coming."
McCrary and Everett are trying to encourage families to come out and exercise for 30 minutes at Bulldog Days. They also want to see more youths attending each session.
"The key is for everybody to come out and be active with their peers," McCrary said. "It's about encouraging others to come out."