He wanted to put them in the spotlight.
With a new season a month away, LaGrange High head football coach Dialleo Burks wanted to give his players a taste of what it’s like to perform in front of a crowd.
So he decided to open up the team’s annual Iron Man competition to the public this year.
The competition measures the players in a number of different events designed to measure strength, speed and agility.
After the final event Friday morning, the 400-yard run, the player who accumulates the most points will be named this year’s winner.
The competition got under way on Tuesday in the secondary gym at LaGrange High, and anyone who was interested was welcome to attend.
There were bleachers set up, as well as a row of chairs where spectators watched the weight-lifting events.
“I had one father, he said coach I’m glad that you did this, but I don’t want to put too much pressure on them,” Burks said. “I’m like, OK, what’s going to happen when it’s third-and-six in the state championship? How much pressure is that?”
The pressure of playing a regular-season game will hit the players for the first time on Aug. 22 when LaGrange takes on a Callaway team that was in the final four a year ago.
Burks’ hope is that the preparation leading up to that game will allow the players to “perform under pressure.”
Burks feels being in front of an audience for the Iron Man competition will help with that preparation.
“Let’s go ahead and break that ice early,” Burks said.
Dozens of spectators took advantage of the opportunity to see the players go through the different drills.
One drill had the players seeing how many times they could jump up and down from a box in 30 seconds.
There were a couple of speed drills, as well as a power-lifting competition.
Burks’ message to all of the players before the competition began on Tuesday was to give 100 percent.
“As long as you gave us your best, that’s all we ask for,” Burks said.
The players will take today off before returning to the gym on Thursday for another round of drills.
“They can rest their bodies,” Burks said. “That’s one thing that I’m big on, is making sure that your body is taken care of, so when it comes time for you to perform, you’re rested and ready to go.”
The competition will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, and once again anyone interested is invited to attend.
The Iron Man will wrap up Friday morning with the 400 run, and LaGrange will then hold its first preseason practice immediately after the run.